BBC World Service To Launch Pidgin, Igbo And Yoruba Broadcasts


The BBC World Service has announced plans to launch regular news programmes in Pidgin, Igbo, Yoruba and 8 other new languages in 2017, as part of its biggest journalism expansion since the 1940s.

The other languages to be included in the latest expansion are Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Gujarati, Korean, Marathi, Punjabi, Telugu, and Tigrinya. The new output will target younger people and women in particular.

BBC World service also has other services planned which include more than 30 new TV programmes across Africa, more regional programming from BBC Arabic and a video offer in 40 languages including English.


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The BBC said the programme, which also includes an expansion of Russian, African and Arabic services as well as a new digital channel in Thailand, would bring “independent journalism to millions around the world including in places where media freedom is under threat”.

The plans, financed by a £289m funding boost from the UK government in 2015, is designed to boost Britain’s place in the world.

With this historic expansion, the BBC proposes to double the number of people who can access BBC services around the world to 500 million by 2022, when the World Service will be 100 years old.

The BBC’s plans, which focus on its links to “democracy and the free press”, come after state-sponsored rivals such as Qatar’s Al Jazeera, China’s CCTV and Russia’s RT have expanded n the UK.

For countries such as North Korea and Russia, fears have been expressed that the BBC’s plans may likely cause controversy with the ruling power who may not welcome the BBC’s offer of “independent journalism”.

Some diplomats have argued that the BBC’s plans to compete against Kim Jong-un’s state-sponsored media for North Korea’s 25 million people will cause tension. A number of foreign broadcasters already target the country, including South Korea’s KBS and the US-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

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The proposed plans will lead to extended news bulletins and a relaunched website in Russian, as well as daily radio programmes aimed at audiences in the Korean peninsula. Much more online content on social media will also be produced.