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Dhaka Tribune

BBC Bangla to discontinue radio broadcast

BBC is shutting down radio broadcasts in 10 languages

Update : 30 Sep 2022, 07:21 PM

The BBC has decided to discontinue radio broadcast in 10 languages including Bangla in a bid to save £28.5 million annually. 

The BBC has proposed the closure of about 382 posts at the World Service. 

Therefore radio broadcasts in 10 languages involving Arabic, Persian, Chinese and Bengali will cease, the BBC said.

In order to “increase impact with audiences” many language services will be shifted online even though these services will not close.

The BBC is also making broad annual savings of £500m, with CBBC and BBC Four being moved online.

Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries in January declared their license fee would be frozen at £159 for two years.

The corporation then added they have been led to tough choices due to rising inflation and costs. 

It added that the World Service plans are part of its tactic to create a "modern, digital-led and streamlined organization".

The other radio services that will come to an end are Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Hindi, Indonesian, Tamil, and Urdu.

Chinese, Gujarati, Igbo, Indonesian, Pidgin, Urdu, and Yoruba are the languages that will be shifted to online-only.

The World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster, inclusive of a wide range of languages and regional services on radio, TV, and digital. 

It is able to reach 364 million people a week and half of them access it online.

The World Service will still "serve audiences during moments of jeopardy" to ensure BBC's news services access to people in countries like Russia, Ukraine and Afghanistan as its language services will not close.

World Service English will also provide non-stop news, available globally, and accordingly, the corporation said it would announce new timetables, programs and podcasts at a later date.

Liliane Landor, the World Service's director, said: "The role of the BBC has never been more crucial worldwide. The BBC is trusted by hundreds of millions of people for fair and impartial news, especially in countries where this is in short supply.”

"We help people in times of crisis. We will continue to bring the best journalism to audiences in English and more than 40 languages, as well as increase the impact and influence of our journalism by making our stories go further,” she added.

She elaborated that there was a "compelling case" to expand digital services like BBC’s plans for TV news channel merger, BBC moving CBBC and BBC Four online and BBC’s plans to axe local TV news bulletin

World Service English will invest in a new podcast for younger audiences around the world, along with the hour-long science strand from the BBC's fresh science unit in Cardiff, and more live news and sports programming.

Other proposals include:

Moving production out of London to get closer to the audience - relocating the Thai service from London to Bangkok, the Korean service to Seoul, the Bangla service to Dhaka and the Focus On Africa TV bulletin to Nairobi.

Making projects like investigations and documentaries more collaborative so as to further travel.

Producing a new London-based China unit.

Producing Africa content hub which commissions and distributes original, distinctive and impactful digital-first content.

Moving forward with programmed TV broadcasts for both Arabic and Persian languages, and investing in expanding audio and other digital capabilities in Arabic and Persian to replace the radio.

The proposals are now in the process of being consulted by staff and trade unions.

Philippa Childs, head of broadcasting union Bectu, said they were "disappointed to see the proposed changes".

"While we recognize the BBC must adapt to meet the challenges of a changing media landscape, once again it is workers who are hit by the government's poorly-judged political decisions - its freezing of the licence fee and the resulting funding challenges has necessitated these proposals," she added.

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