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'Alternative' funding for the Hindi Service

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Rajan Datar | 10:38 UK time, Friday, 11 March 2011

One of the BBC’s foreign language services due for closure is the Hindi Service which broadcasts to around 11 million people in India.

It is particularly important to people who live in rural areas who don’t have access to television and where literacy levels mean they do not read newspapers.


Cuts to the BBC World Service announced by head of Global News Peter Horrocks had put the Hindi Service at risk. Picture: Getty


This week, the BBC announced that it had been approached by a number of commercial parties with alternative funding proposals. And In order to explore these proposals further, BBC World Service has decided to keep a one hour evening news and current affairs broadcast in Hindi for an interim period while discussions take place.

Amit Baruah is the Head of the Hindi Service joined me to explain this good news and talk about whether it points to a permanent solution.

And funding the World Service is very much on the minds of listeners who contacted Over to You this week, particularly with the closure of 648 Mediumwave service to western Europe.

Many of listeners are based in Europe like Marc Smets Deinze from Brussels who wrote: "I’ve often regarded these transmissions as a generous present, and pondered the possibility that the situation might not last forever."

So I’ve been thinking for some weeks along the lines of the suggestions made by some listeners in the latest Over to You.

Marc wondered whether a financial contribution from a large enough group of listeners would be an adequate solution to the problem.

We decide to explore the question of funding options and I discussed ideas with two of our listeners -whether sponsorship by large corporations could solve the problem, or if contributions by individuals into a charity could be a way of providing funding.

Meanwhile, as the uprisings continue across the Arab world, inspired many say, by media sources ranging from Al Jazeera and Facebook, it is no coincidence that repressive regimes like China are getting edgy.

When the BBC’s man in Beijing, Damian Grammaticas, and his team went to cover a protest in the capital dubbed the Jasmine Uprising, he found that the Chinese authorities did not want the foreign media present and brought in some heavies to make their message clear. I spoke to Damian about his experience and what prompted it.

If you have views on what you hear on the World Service, we’d love to hear from you, so please keep your emails and calls coming.


Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You.

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).




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