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Hostage Praise Pleases BBC With AM-Hostages, Bjt

November 19, 1991

LONDON (AP) _ The British Broadcasting Corp. said Tuesday it was ″deeply moved″ by the praise of released Western hostages in Lebanon and happy to know its radio broadcasts helped keep their hopes alive.

In the first news conference after Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland were released Monday, Sutherland heaped praise upon the BBC World Service, whose programs had kept him and fellow hostages informed about events in the world outside their cells.

Waite echoed his comments Tuesday at a news conference after arriving in Britain.

″In the last 12 months,″ he said, ″the World Service helped keep us alive both spiritually through the work of the religious departments and mentally through the variety of cultural and news programs.″

Bob Jobbins, the editor of the World Service News, said: ″It gives us great satisfaction to know we should get so much appreciation, and from people who have taken the trouble to acknowledge it at a time when they must have so much else on their minds. It is very rewarding.″

The service’s managing director, John Tusa, said everyone there ″has been deeply moved.″

The BBC World Service broadcasts in English and 36 other languages to audiences around the world.

When hostage John McCarthy was released in August he disclosed that the hostages were given a radio by their captors a year before.

After this, the BBC World Service stepped up broadcasts aimed directly at all Middle East hostages, including several editions of the Outlook magazine program hosted by Waite’s cousin, journalist John Waite.

During the failed hard-line Soviet coup in August, President Mikhail S. Gorbachev said he relied on the BBC World Service and other international news services for information while he was detained, and said the BBC’s reception was best of all.

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