BBC World Service launches on FM in Baghdad, Basra

MUMBAI: In the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Basra locals can now hear BBC World Service in FM as well as on short wave and medium wave frequencies.

BBC World Service is the first international broadcaster to broadcast 24 hours a day in Arabic on FM in Baghdad and Basra. The new FM frequencies are 89.0 MHz in Baghdad and 90.0 MHz in Basra in Arabic.

In Basra, the World Service can also be heard in English on FM on 88.0 MHz. Director BBC World Service and Global News Mark Byford said, "BBC World Service has a high standing in Iraq. In recent years Iraqis depended on international radio for their news after satellite dishes were banned. BBC World Service is widely listened to and respected across the Arab world and boosted its short wave and medium wave transmissions to Iraq at the start of the war".

"Now for the first time the people of Baghdad and Basra can listen to BBC World Service on FM. This is a historic development and we plan to extend FM to other major Iraqi cities".

Throughout the war, BBC Arabic broadcast continuous rolling news and introduced special programmes for Iraqis, including live discussions and Lifeline programmes supported by BBC World Service Trust, the charitable arm of BBC World Service, broadcasting life-saving information.

A team of four BBC Arabic reporters are currently in Iraq to report for BBC Arabic. Another BBC Arabic producer is in Baghdad leading a team of local journalists to extend the Trust's Lifeline programmes. BBC Arabic is also available on FM in Amman (Jordan) reaching Jerusalem and other West Bank centres, in Ajloun (Jordan) for Damascus, northern Jordan, southern Lebanon, and northern Israel, in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Khartoum and Wad Madani in Sudan. In Afghanistan, BBC World Service has initiated a similar programme to bring high quality FM to the country.

Two years after the Taliban provoked international outrage by destroying a pair of huge Buddha statues in Bamian, central Afghanistan, BBC World Service recently erected Afghanistan’s first solar powered FM transmitter there. Conventional transmitters also broadcast BBC World Service in FM to Afghans in Kabul, Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharif.

In rural areas of Iraq people will continue to hear BBC World Service on short wave and medium wave.

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