Monday, 4 July 2011

British government gives more money for BBC Arabic service

Amid a tide of uprisings and revolutionary fever in the Arab region, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has announced that it will provide an additional £2.2 million ($3.5 million) per year for Arabic language broadcastings.

 The Foreign Secretary William Hague made the announcement despite the BBC World Service having suffered a 16% cutback last year in a drive to make savings. The World Service, which disseminates news in various languages from a British perspective, had had an annual budget of £270 million per year.

Mr Hague said in a written statement: "It is right that we should look at ways in which we can assist the BBC Arabic Service to continue their valuable work in the region”.
The boost in funding is significant seeing that a number of BBC World services including the Serbian, Macedonian and Portuguese for Africa services were plugged last year.

Along with Arabic, the British government has also stressed the importance of the Hindi and Somali services as “core” operations.

The BBC Arabic channel faces stiff competition from other countries wishing to reach the Middle East with their own Arabic language channels. These include France-24 Arabic, the Moscow-based Rusiya Al-Yaum, and CCTV Arabic which is a Chinese state-run outfit designed to improve Chinese-Middle Eastern relations.

See also: 31% soar in demand for Arabic-English translation amid uprisings

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