Tuesday, March 08, 2011

BBC to create online archives for axed foreign-language service

An archive of broadcasts from BBC World Service radio stations due to be axed is being made available online. Services involved in the archive plans include BBC Para Africa, the Portuguese service for Africa, which has made audio and photos from its 72-year-history available on its website.

A number of language services are being cut as part of last year’s comprehensive spending review, which saw the BBC agree to take over the funding of the World Service from the Foreign Office. BBC Para Africa ceased broadcasting on February 25 along with BBC Mundo, the Spanish service for Latin America, which has retained a news website. The Macedonian service ceased last week, the Serbian and Albanian services the week before, and the English for the Caribbean service is due to shut later this month.

Radio programming in seven languages - Azeri (the official language of Azerbaijan), Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish for Cuba, Turkish, Vietnamese and Ukrainian - will be closed as part of the plans.
The World Service will also cease shortwave transmission of five more services in March:, Indonesian, Kyrgyz, Nepali, Swahili and the Great Lakes service (for Rwanda and Burundi).

The broadcaster’s Hindi service was due to be among those five services, but it was announced yesterday that it will retain an evening news radio broadcast “for an interim period” while commercial funding opportunities are explored.

The World Service cuts are expected to cost the broadcaster around 650 jobs and 30 million listeners. The Foreign Affairs Committee will begin an inquiry tomorrow into the impact of service closures and other cuts on the BBC World Service.
(Source: journalism.co.uk)