Thursday, October 27, 2005

BBC goes inte Arab orbit

The BBC world service has decided to join the train of arab satelite news. In 1938, the first foreign language radio station from the BBC was launched, to counter Mussolinis Bari radio station. During and after the second world war , the system of foreign language BBC radio stations in Europe become widespread. It played it´s role as a free radio station in the midst of unfree Europe briliantly.

It has broadcasted arabic language radio programs for 60 years, and has already made an attempt at launching an arabic channel in the 1990´s, together with the Saudi company orbit. That failed in 1996, but out from the ashes came what would be the most successful and important arab satelite tv station, al Jazzera. In the middle of the 90`s the BBC was out on a virgin mission alone in an untapped market. This time around they are entering a vibrant and fiercely competitive news market, with one of the world´s most known brands as their number one competitor, togheter with the fellow pan-arab, but more western leaning station al Arabiyya, and a whole bunch of local news outlets who want´s a piece of the action.

The proccess that the BBC world service are going through, from the outside looks a lot like the voice of America, when it shifted focus from traditional radio broadcasts in foreign languages, to trying to "capture the hearts and minds" of the Arab audience, with Radio Sawwa and al Hurra. Hopefully the BBC has drawn the right conclusions from that failing project.

I don´t think the BBC should change very much , they have their unique style, which is known and admired all ower the world. The fact that this is a government funded project, at a time when the United Kingdom, is the junior partner to the U.S in Iraq, could be a focus for criticsism and a lack of trust from the audience, but the project will be launched in 2007, and it could look , somewhat different on the ground in Iraq, than today.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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11:16 AM  

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