BBC launches ‘Hard Times’ to question austerity measures

MUMBAI: The BBC's international news services - BBC World Service, BBC World News and - have launched Hard Times, a special multimedia content scrutinising the changes being made to the leading economies.

Running across the BBC on television, online, radio and mobile, Hard Times asks whether austerity is good for people and how societies with established economic and social structures are tackling mounting public debt. It also explores the impact of the current economic climate on pension provisions across Europe, state aid to emerging nations, and the effect on economies outside the Eurozone.

BBC Global News executive editor Steve Titherington said, "Economists from across the world are now examining, with keen interest, the Europe books, and we see Hard Times as an ongoing editorial initiative 'auditing the auditors’ and seeing just what the impact is of the decisions world leaders are now making. Our journalists are exploring 'life swaps' between Germany and Greece, looking at the impact of the current economic climate on state aid to emerging nations and developing world. We are also keen to explore subjects such as the economic situation in Hungary, and to hear from countries in Europe - e.g. Kosovo and Montenegro - which use the euro 'unofficially'. And we hope to examine how economic change is affecting migration patterns within Europe."

BBC Global News controller of English Craig Oliver will be offering blogs and twitter feeds as this theme develops over the coming months. “This is a story where noone knows what the outcome will be. We want to be sure we understand what it is our audience want us to ask the economists and the politicians as we enter uncertain times.”

The BBC's language services focus on issues of special relevance to their audiences. BBC Chinese is looking at how China and Chinese firms see the European crisis, asking whether they worry about the impact of the European economic situation on China's export or trade, or whether they see this is a golden opportunity to buy prime assets in Europe at a cheaper price. BBC Chinese is interviewing executives of leading Chinese banks and business firms in London to get their views, and see whether Greece will be the next country to experience China’s new buying power.

With strikes and demonstrations planned across much of Europe, the BBC website, has brought together all the issues facing the Eurozone countries. Comparing and contrasting the different austerity measures being taken, the BBC asks just how successful they might be and brings together stories of people behind the statistics. also offers the audiences the opportunity to engage with leading academics who discuss whether austerity is good for communities as well as the economy.

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