BBC World Service closes down 10 BBC services to fund Arabic channel

MUMBAI: The BBC World Service is initiating a broad restructuring process as it has set out its plans to launch an Arabic-language television service. The company has also closed down its 10 local language radio services, mostly based in Eastern Europe to fund the ?25million project.

What has inspired the BBC to launch an Arabic channel is the scandals broke out in the news broadcast arena during the Iraq war. Now the new channel will lock horns with the Arab TV channel Al-Jazeera which was accused by Washington of biased reporting on Iraq. Now the new channel is formed at the request of the British Foreign Office.

BBC World Service director Nigel Chapman has attributed the closing down of the European services to the changing times in Europe. "But Europe has changed, fundamentally, since the early nineties. Now the countries to which these languages are broadcast are members of the EU, or are likely to join soon," he said.

Chapman has been quoted in media reports as saying that broadcasts in Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Kazakh, Polish, Slovak, Slovene and Thai will cease by 2006. "Many of the European services being closed had their roots in the Second World War and have served their audiences well right through the Cold War years," he said.

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