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Panorama
The importance of the viewers

This Sunday's Panorama programme "After Saddam" marks a further development in one of the most exciting innovations in BBC broadcasting in recent months.

Since we began to develop the format last September, we have enthusiastically begun asking viewers for their questions, text messages and emails from around the world on the Iraq crisis, then putting those questions to BBC correspondents or to opinion makers and decision takers in Britain, Jordan, the United States and France.

This means that the range of Panorama has increased enormously. Recent programmes have been broadcast not only in Britain on BBC One but also around the world on BBC World television and on BBC World Service Radio.

We have had emails from as far apart as Hawaii and the Congo, plus comments and questions from articulate and interested viewers in Pakistan, Israel, Jordan, France, Germany, the United States and of course from all over Britain.

Crisis point?

The original Reithian conception of the BBC was an organisation which would enable nation to speak peace unto nation. Modern technology is enabling us to do this more effectively than ever before, even in a time of war.

For me as the presenter of these programmes the most interesting part has been the questions from viewers. We all recognise that we are on the cusp of an enormous change in world affairs.

From the war on terror to the war against Iraq and the long running sore of Israel and the Palestinians, audiences and individuals round the world have a deep and abiding interest in how this planet of ours is interconnected, and how it may be better connected in future.

Viewers constantly wonder whether the United States is too strong. Can war bring democracy? Have the institutions developed after the Second World War - NATO, the EU and UN - all simultaneously reached a point of crisis?

Passion

How can the rich countries of the predominantly Christian world rebuild relations with Arab countries and the Islamic world? How can Iraq be rebuilt?

I cannot predict exactly what we might expect from viewers for this Sunday's Panorama. But I can predict with absolute confidence that I will once again be surprised by the range, intellect and passion behind the questions.

I also hope we will all be informed and surprised by the depth and knowledge behind the answers.

Gavin will be putting viewers questions to top BBC correspondents including Matt Frei, Rageh Omaar and Steven Sackur in a Panorama programme on Sunday, 13 April.

To send a question for the panel, fill in the form below and click on the 'send' button.

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Panorama: After Saddam

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