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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 15:00 GMT
Decision put off on BBC web ads
How the front page of the BBC News website might look

The BBC's governing Trust will not be making a decision on funding the international part of the BBC website with adverts until later in the spring.

The Trust said BBC management was not ready to seek the Trust's decision.

Last month, the Trust said that online advertising could potentially be used to fund the BBC's worldwide concerns.

There has been opposition to the concept of placing adverts on pages seen by international users, with fears over damaging the BBC's impartiality.

While UK users pay for the website through their licence fee, international audiences get the service for free, the corporation argues.

'Essential' services

But the British Internet Publishers Alliance (BIPA), which represents UK commercial online media companies, has said the plan would damage its members' revenues.

Showing adverts to non-UK readers would also undermine the BBC's "worldwide reputation for integrity and impartiality", it said.

In its statement in February, the Trust said providing independent news and information to an international audience remained "integral" to the BBC's purpose and the internet was an "essential" part of that service.

"Consequently we have asked the BBC management to do further work - particularly around how advertising revenue would be reinvested in BBC Global News and the BBC's UK public services for the benefit of licence fee payers."

Desktop computer

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said more than 200 BBC staff and 45 MPs have backed its campaign to have the idea rejected.

The plan would see adverts carried on selected high-traffic areas of the site, such as news and sport.

The income would replace BBC World Service grant-in-aid payments, which make up some of the news website's budget.

There would be tough guidelines to protect the quality and impartiality of content, managers have promised.

The BBC has already approved separate plans in which adverts will pay for higher quality video news for international users.

Advertising is also already carried on BBC World TV and the global news channel's website.

Visitors to bbc.com are presently redirected to the international-facing bbc.co.uk homepage.

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