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Asia news on the website

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Nathalie Malinarich | 14:15 UK time, Tuesday, 1 November 2011

In the next few days, we will be making some changes to the way we present news from Asia on the website.

BBC News Asia site


Until now, our coverage of the region has been split into two: Asia Pacific and South Asia. However many users have told us that they do not understand these labels and do not always know where to go for news they want from the region.

We think we will be better serving audiences in the UK and elsewhere with a single Asia index - a home for news stories from and about the region as well as features and analysis from our correspondents and content from some of our unrivalled language services.

For those who want specific news and analysis from the world's two most populous countries, we will also create named country pages: first China and, later in the month, India. 

The change in layout is accompanied by increased coverage in the region as a whole, allowing us to report even more stories from a region that stretches from Afghanistan to Japan and Pakistan to Australia.

We will be able to bring you more of the news as it breaks in the region, with greater speed and in greater depth than ever before.

In the coming days users in Asia can also expect some further changes to the homepage which will deepen the breadth of our coverage with more bespoke content for audiences in different regions of Asia.

We hope these changes will make our site more relevant to users in Asia, and make it easier for audiences in the UK and the rest of the world to understand this vital region.

UPDATE 4 NOVEMBER 2011: Thank you for your comments on this post. I wanted to reply to some of your questions.

Australia and New Zealand are not part of the Asian continent, but they are part of the Pacific region and increasingly look towards Asia. We think, therefore, this is the best regional index for stories from the two countries.

To Piet Boon and others who asked about country-specific pages: it's under review, we may be offering more in the future.

Jake Smith - please rest assured, we are not reducing coverage or restricting it to the larger countries. We will have more articles from across the region. The difference is that the Asia page will be updated more often.

We are also looking at adding South Asia and Asia Pacific sections to the new Asia index.

Nathalie Malinarich is world editor of the BBC News website.


  • Comment number 1.

    Does this mean that news from Australia will appear on an index headed 'Asia'?

  • Comment number 2.

    Could we perhaps also have more news about Europe please? Perhaps for pretty obvious reasons.

  • Comment number 3.

    "first China and, later in the month, India"
    Though china has banned BBC chinese website and there are very few people visiting the English website from mainland.

  • Comment number 4.

    60% of the world population but 1 of 7 categories?

  • Comment number 5.

    I have never regarded anywhere west of Burma as Asia. That has always been the Indian sub-continent to me but I suppose the Pakistanis would disagree as usual.

  • Comment number 6.

    I live in New Zealand and I've never understood why Australia and New Zealand are grouped into the BBC Asia section. There isn't much relevance for the people of these countries. They consist of a majority of a white western culture and follow either their own news or news from Europe and America - not Asia

  • Comment number 7.

    The Middle East is also part of the Asia continent but the BBC's decision somehow don't extent those area. Already East Asia with China alone is already dominating headlines we don't need adding India and Pakistan to one grouping when ita already include Australia & NZ. It would make sense to group South Asia with the Middle East or leave things as it is.

  • Comment number 8.

    I find the old BBC news page with a map of the world highlighting different regions was very useful but somebody decide to remove it and I think that is when some people start having difficulties.
    If it aint broke don't try and fix it.

  • Comment number 9.

    Please tell us what will happen to the news from the pacific region. Surely they cannot be put under the header "Asia"?
    If China and India get named pages, will the same be done for other BRIC countries. And what will be done with the news from the US and Russia?
    There must be a policy somewhere. Can you tell us what that policy is?

  • Comment number 10.

    It sounds implausible that the editors of BBC has realised the apparent customer dilemma regarding the tagging of the Asia category after so many years of its introduction. The previous identification heading was crystal clear and guided readers wholeheartedly. My hunch is this system is born from the "cost cutting" and "austerity" measure of BBC.

  • Comment number 11.

    Now that the Asia sections have merged please could you add a new 'Australia & NZ' section in a similar way you have a section for US & Canada.

  • Comment number 12.

    i'd like to join those who cannot see an improvement in abolishing the 'pacific' and 'south asia' headings for the sake of a single one, 'asia'. the region is far too large, and it might be assumed that coverage will rather diminish than increase that way. additionally, if the usa and canada can be treated separately and not under 'america' (or 'the americas'), certainly china, japan, korea, southeast asia and australia/nz/south pacific etc deserve (a) separate place(s) - and it would give me 'south asia' back, with its attention on afghanistan. or is the bbc also down-sizing its attention on that country now?

  • Comment number 13.

    there are several thing that needs to be considered, (i) number of viewers, readers, (ii) how much news from which region, and (iii) coverage. if the changes were not made considering these then I think it should go by continent. otherwise number of viewers from south asia should be much higher inside UK, therefore it deserves a place. if not then latin america and us-canada should be one. for e.g. when i lived in thailand i used to watch channel news asia more then bbc, simply because of the coverage they give...

  • Comment number 14.

    hello, this is not a good format, i want S Asia section back please.. under asia have the S asia section, cuz its too much news for one tab... Asia is big... and yes please separate the Aussie/NZ section as they don't belong in the Asia tab may be group them with US/Canada ( Asians don't bother about their news).

  • Comment number 15.

    'However many users have told us that they do not understand these labels and do not always know where to go for news they want from the region.'

    Possibly a little elitist, but how can you not know the difference between 'Asia Pacific', and 'South Asia'? Furthermore, do we want to entertain such dim readers?

    This is definitely a cost saving exercise, they did the same with Africa and the Middle-East sections during the Arab spring, news stories for Morocco (Africa) were popping up in the Middle-East section! Why not just call a spade a spade and come clean?

    Or alternatively BBC - Take a geogprahy course please and stop dumbing down!

  • Comment number 16.

    I see no mention as to whether any feedback was collected from readers who liked the format as it was?

    If people don't know where a country is located then they should have the wit to look it up, this is why wikipedia was invented. Or even better, check the BBC country profiles.

    I don't see why the BBC should be pandering to the ignorance of a narrow band of readers. Surely there is some news which needs urgent reporting over needless tinkering?

  • Comment number 17.

    Please look at a atlas. You will notice that Australi, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands are not part of political Asia, nor the Aisan continent

  • Comment number 18.

    It seems pretty clear that a sizeable chunk of readers think this change was a mistake. I'm one of them - the amount of news overlap between South Asia and the Asia Pacific region is pretty small, and I'm sure that most people wanting to inform themselves about events in a particular country would soon work out which region it fell into, if they couldn't guess or didn't know already.

    @ hizento (No.8) - I'm not sure I entirely agree that the map was necessary, but it certainly helped a little.

  • Comment number 19.

    If you would put US & Canada and Latin America in two different tabs, surely it's non-sensical to lop Australasia into the Asia tab - it's 2 different continents!

    It just doesn't make any sense...

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm sorry, but really. Honestly, does the BBC truly think that users who access this website and look at the different regions of the world don't know where the Pacific and where South Asia is? Why not just tell the truth? Cuts. Pure and simple. As soon as I saw this headline I knew that it would contain a phrase along the lines of 'enabling us to provide a faster service'. The usual diatribe you hear from downsizing companies.

    As a resident of SouthAsia I always looked to the BBC for a decent news coverage. No longer, it would seem.

    And when did we get asked if we wanted this change? I can't remember seeing a questionnaire asking if we knew where the largest ocean in the world was and if it was confusing.

    So, if we're dumbing down.... I have no idea of the difference between Latin American and Greek America and sod all knowledge of what north is as opposed to south, so can all of the America thingy just be bunged into one please?

    I could continue in this downward spiral of ignorance until we get to 'Us' and 'Them foreigners' but that would be silly. It would enable a faster service though, so that would okay.

  • Comment number 21.

    It doesn't make sense to add South Asia news to Far East Asian news, since both are distinct cultures, and geographical locations.
    In fact, it makes more sense to combine South Asia and Middle-East region than to combine South Asia with East Asia.
    South Asia and Middle-East region share more of a common culture, via central Asia, Iran and Pakistan, and its culture and people are contiguous from Israel to India.
    Whereas, there is hardly any commonality between Indian sub-continent and China in terms of culture and events; In fact, the India subcontinent is on a different geological continental plate. BBC should combine South Asia with Middle to make it more logical and less confusing, than combining South Asia with Far East

  • Comment number 22.

    I was just on the site and noticed my favorite section (Asia Pacific) was missing, so I looked for the editors blog to find out what's going on and here I am. I think this is a shame because Asia is huge in both population and geographical terms and dividing them up as before was quite right. If people don't know what region countries belong to then perhaps they should study a map for a while. Apologies if that sounds patronizing but to have every country from west to east is too much and I fear this will sacrifice news and features from smaller countries that I enjoyed reading about. If any of the world's continents should be given more space it should be Asia, especially in this time of eastwards migration of development, affects of climate change and so many more issues that mean more stories will be of interest from there. I hope you reconsider this move BBC and so I and many others can enjoy news from more specific regions. Change it back and we won't hold it against you!

  • Comment number 23.

    Asia with such size, population and activity could perfectly be divided in two.
    And the excuse of people who didn't know where they should look for something ... come on, that doesn't convince. It happens the same between Europe and Asia.
    And as I far as I understood, you're still keeping Australia and NZ in Asia! Why? Why not in South America?

  • Comment number 24.

    I am apalled and astounded that user feedback is showing people struggled to grasp the basic concept of South Asia and Asia Pacific - so the BBC has resorted to merging the two - and then gone on to create two separate tabs for India and China...

    Could they not just have had a visual graphic of the countries covered under the old tabs for those who are so geographically challenged that they couldn't work out where they However many users have told us that they do not understand these labels and did "not always know where to go for news they want from the region".

    I sense it's a ploy to widen BBC News website appeal to the growing internet using communities in India and China by creating country-specific tabs for those two nations... I mean I find it hard to believe user feedback shows people are that slow to work out what is included in South Asia and Asia-Pacific, yet are able enough to work out what is meant by the Middle East?

    Anyhow to end this rant of disbelief, if we are going to remain stuck with such a wide-ranging generic Asia tab - can we at least

  • Comment number 25.

    What a wonderful idea. Now go a step further and put the UK under Europe.

  • Comment number 26.

    London is closer to Tokyo than my city in New Zealand. Maybe the UK should go in the Asia section too.

  • Comment number 27.

    When BBC can have 'US & canada' and 'Latin America' as separate pages, I am sure BBC can separate Asia into two categories 'Asia' and 'South Asia'

  • Comment number 28.

    So the world news section are now divided by six regions three of them are continents (Asia, Europe, Africa) and the other three simply groupings of countries geographically. Can someone in the BBC please explain to me why USA & Canada, Latin America and the Middle East with a combined population less than that of China can each have their own tailor made news coverage and 50% share of world news?

  • Comment number 29.

    The new homepage is much easier to scan than the old one. The rest of the world should be jealous!

  • Comment number 30.

    How do I navigate online to the Australian news. I can "see" Asia and Asian Business and China but surely where's the rest of Australia, NZ, etc.

  • Comment number 31.

    It is important that the world looks to Brazil, we are tired of corruption
    only one man is able to heal the wound of corruption in Brazil
    It's good to let the world know more about this man:

  • Comment number 32.

    under the heading 'Asia' i would prefer far east asia and indian sub continent to be separated

  • Comment number 33.

    please can we have 'Asia Pacific' back!!!!!

  • Comment number 34.

    Looking at the changes in Asia section more, it would be more logical to divide the news into regions within Asia. However, while countries like Libya, Egypt, etc lie in Africa, they share issues with Middle-Eastern Asia more than Africa. So, while Asia should be one section, there should be tabs within Asia to divide the Asian section as China, India, Middle East, Non-Chinese Far East, Non-Indian South East and Central Asia. Non-Chinese far east will then include all nations other than China such as Japan, Koreas, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, etc. Non-Indian South East will include Pakistan, etc. News for Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific islands will then fall under the "Non-Chinese Far East" tab, as it will be logical.

  • Comment number 35.

    I am a regular reader of BBC " South Asia" since last many years. Even proudly I could say that I used to read every day. As a South Asian after opening this page I just read about our region. India, Bangladesh & Pakistan ie. Indian Subcontinent we are regularly reads. All on a sudden to day I saw " South Asia " deleted & it has merged with Asia. Earlier there is " Asia Pacific " & " South Asia". We fell easy to open BBC " South Asia" & read news/views about our country and our neighbors. But merging your page of " South Asia". with Asia it may reduce your reader from this region. So I earnestly request to introduce " South Asia". page for the interest of " South Asia" people. I am in opinion that Indian readers are more to read " South Asia" page then a man like me who is from Bangladesh. Thanks & regards ShahidIttehad.

  • Comment number 36.

    "The change in layout is accompanied by increased coverage in the region as a whole" - this seems hard to believe as the Asia-Pacific region is almost invisible now. There is now only one headline page for "Asia" when there used to be two. Where is the news about Indonesia? Only 200+ million live there.

  • Comment number 37.

    If you roll the map, the Pacific covers one whole side of the viewable globe... but all todays articles are mainly Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, Sri Lanka....

    Say it how it is BBC, you have abandoned us. Goodbye.

  • Comment number 38.

    Whatever you do, please do not group India in the Middle East category, they do not have similar cultures at all and the Mideast section is always filled with war and violence and it gives wrong impression about India.
    And kindly make Australia and NZ a separate category as it does not make sense at all.

  • Comment number 39.

    I personally find that the old "Asian-Pacific", "South Asia" tabs to be easier for nevigation. Asia is too big of a continent with many different countries with diverse cultures to be grouped in a single category.

  • Comment number 40.

    I agree with 39.L_CM... so I would like BBC reinstate the way it was viewed before.

  • Comment number 41.

    Actually, the more one sees the new changes, the more it makes sense. It makes the section more interesting and readable. I am sure depending on the quality of the news, more and more people will come to like this change. Only thing is that you should add Middle-east into Asia (as it is also part of Asia), with its own tab to cover the cultural and political aspects of middle-east like Iran-Saudi cultural issues, Pakistan-Arab issues, inter-Arab issues, etc. This is a change for the better.

  • Comment number 42.

    Please can we have up to date news about Thailand flood crisis. I have family over there and feel that coverage to us at home in the West has been sparse. Many thanks BB

  • Comment number 43.

    Abhijit Lahiri compliments the entire BBC team. Truly an upbeat event for all Asians. Can we have an update news info. On Oz areas also?

  • Comment number 44.

    I agree with Hizento Blog #7. The middle East is part of Asia (Asia Minor in the old days) This area is likely to explode in the forseeable future due to Nuclear Armed Israel threatening to bomb Iran because they think that Iran also wants nuclear weapons. The Israeli administraion is now expending much effort on prpopaganda to influence UK, European and US public opinion in their favour. It would be a great preventive blow against the forthcoming hostilities if the BBC would open this "Asia news" to discussion on the Middle East. It would be great blow for peace.

  • Comment number 45.

    why change something when there was nothing wrong in the first place? I can't even find a story about the floods in Thailand anymore - a story of great interest to as I live there, I am now going to have to gather my news from local Thai forums.
    Disapointed to say the least

  • Comment number 46.

    Can we have South Asia back p-l-e-a-s-e?

  • Comment number 47.

    What happened to Asia-Pacific? Not impressed!

  • Comment number 48.

    Please put South Asia back, this is totally mixed up. We want South Asia back. we love the BBC, We hope they will listen to their vewers

  • Comment number 49.

    I want to add my request to put back Asia Pacific and South Asia - I agree with the previous commentator that the map made the distinctions pretty clear. Is this a response to a restricted BBC budget?

  • Comment number 50.

    Please, please bring back the South Asia section! This section was one of the main reasons I visit BBC. Most american news sites tend to herd all of Asia's news into one Asia section. That tendency makes little sense considering the vast diversity of people, news subjects and size of the population of the region. Also, most readers from India, are equally interested in news items from other countries in the South Asia subcontinent.

  • Comment number 51.

    Australia and New Zealand as part of Asia? That's news to me. The 'fact' that those two countries look towards Asia as mentioned in this article is news to me as an Australian (we actually look to the US, China and Europe equally). Sounds like a very British/Euro centric interpretation to me. That, or the people who run this site don't place enough value on stories from those countries, instead using them as humorous bit pieces for stories about Koalas and Sharks etc... Further, why does the US and Canada have their own section rather than being referred to as North America? What about Central America, where are they situated now? Very poor BBC.

  • Comment number 52.

    Further more, culturally, Asia is Asia, India is India and the Middle East is the Middle East. By BBC logic, if you change the map to centre the pacific (as we do in out part of the world) rather than Europe/Africa as the centre, the entire Pacific Rim region should be classed as one group... Your given justification is a ridiculous and seemingly pointless one.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think this gives a information overload to reader like I who has been an avid reader of your 'South Asia' sections for over 10+ years. If you consider geo-political and social domain that are pertinent to people across Asia - I think 'South Asia', 'Asia Pacific'(Japan, S Korea, Singapore), 'China' and 'Oceania' (Australia & New New Zealand) makes more sense.

  • Comment number 54.

    How about putting the headline as it is, add a drop down menu, where different countries may have their news in detail.

  • Comment number 55.

    Your coverage of news is usually pretty comprehensive although some areas with centuries of connections with Britain and the Commonwealth seem to be overlooked. Not giving a separate heading to Australasia and Oceania (or Pacific) is rather insulting as well as misleading and confusing. Come on BBC you get most things right but pleeease sort out this nonsense?

  • Comment number 56.

    The "mid-east" or "middle east" is so euro-centric label. It has no basis to be excluded from Asia. Iran is as much part of Asia as India or Mongolia.

    If Australia is now "Asian" because it is "increasingly looks towards Asia", then why not Iran or Saudi Arabia. Those countries at least have cultural, religious, and ethnic ties to Asia then Australia, which is very European in every way.

  • Comment number 57.

    I agree with several previous posters - please return to the previous subdivisions of S.Asia and A.Pac. They made a lot more sense and would remain consistent with your other regional subdivisions which are 'cultural' rather than strictly geographical (eg. Latin America, Middle East etc.). I'm sure the BBC wouldn't consider creating a new regional category called 'America', lumping together all news from Alaska to Patagonia? I live in Hong Kong and am surprised at this sudden, sweeping generalisation that smacks of insensitivity. And on a practical level, new visitors may also be confused as to where to find Australia and NZ-related news on the site.

  • Comment number 58.

    I have been looking for the Asia Pacific news, and truly miss having that section. The Asia section has a lot of relevant news, which then overshadows the South Asia or Asia Pacific (call it what you want) news.

    Please make this distinction again as you are one of the most educated news agencies and we need quality reporting....too many people don't know about anything beyond their suburb.

  • Comment number 59.

    I realise that South Africa and other African countries are nowhere near as populous as India and China but I think an equivalent type of redesign for Africa would be welcomed by readers - particularly given the amount of news coverage with political uprisings etc recently. Any chance of that happening Nathalie?

    Oli - Czech on Africa blogger

  • Comment number 60.

    PLEEEEASE bring back the South Asia section. Your new format makes no sense at all. I am an avid BBC News junkie and the past couple of weeks have been very unsettling. Contrary to your claims, I feel that merging the two Asia sections has in fact shrunk the coverage of each segment. If people do not know what countries belong in South Asia and what countries are in Asia Pacific, then they need to visit your ORIGINAL site to get educated!

  • Comment number 61.

    I miss Asia Pacific, but would be happier with new Australia & New Zealand section, as there was never enough Australasian coverage and still isn't. Come on BBC, cover the Pacific Commonwealth better.

  • Comment number 62.

    As a New Zealander I find this totally unacceptable - New Zealand (& Australia & the Pacific Islands) are NOT part of Asia, they never have been & they never will be. The BBC ought to know better than to lump these nations into the 'Asia' section of World News. Bring back the Asia-Pacific section, or perhaps make an 'Oceania & The Pacific' section - this would be far more geographically & culturally accurate. Frankly I am appalled by the changes & if the BBC does not amend them I shall be boycotting the BBC.

  • Comment number 63.

    Asking for comments on changes to the BBC Website is rather disingenuous when you consistently ignore any opinion that disagrees with the changes made.

    Just a box ticking exercise the same as the so called 'consultations' carried out by this (and the last) government.

  • Comment number 64.

    Perhaps the world editor of the BBC News website should take a job as a travel editor. It may improve her geography.

  • Comment number 65.

    Asia section is very interesting. I found some interesting and free white papers about Sourcing in China and China business at China Performance Group. Here:

  • Comment number 66.

    Last time i checked 'AUSTRALASIA' had 'ASIA' in it. So to all you segragationists wanting a separate section for Australia and NZ based on language and ethnicity should just sit back down and accept the BBC's decision to merge the South Asia and Asia Pacific news sections.
    In fact you all should be happy to be included in the Asia news section, especially as Australia/NZ/Pacific island rarely make any news- at least on an international level, and truthfully speaking are of no real concern to the political world on a UN/world affairs level, they are just interesting at the most, they just like to think that they are important.

    These countries don't have a population of more than probably 28 million people, compare this to London which has 8 million people alone, and Tokyo City which has 30 million people.

    USA/Canada/Americas deserve to have their own news section, they are important unlike the 'minnow' news making countries such as New Zealand.

    I am deeply sorry if I have caused any offence to the people of the nations aformentioned, but if you don't pay towards a UK TV licence fee, then you really shoudn't be complaining.

    I hope the BBC publishes my post.

  • Comment number 67.

    you are clubbing whole of Asia under what heading??? why not club the whole world under "Earth"... surely people who were getting 'confused' would find it easier to navigate...

    I really dont understand this logic of making up for people's lack of knowledge of geography by coalescing everything.... given the impct of your viewership this will have from the Indian sub-continent, I am betting it is an economically bad decision as number of eye-balls will reduce...

    I have already stopped visiting BBC for my daily south asia dose

  • Comment number 68.

    Its good to see that the BBC are trying to simplify this section of the site. Though it is hard for people in this day and age to understand which countries are part of the Asia. How does one decide on which countries to included, when a vast majority of the Asian population would regard themselves as part of Asia.

  • Comment number 69.

    What a remarkably cavalier thing to say that "many" BBC readers cannot distinguish between the Asia Pacific or South Asia. The statement in itself makes a fool of the efforts that you have made to explain yourself here. One would normally expect some form of intellectual rigour coming from the editor of a broadcaster of your stature.

    Being an avid reader of the BBC News website, since the past ten years, or so, this particular move is extremely disappointing. Can the fact that the South Asian region has been completely done away with, be taken as a reflection of the BBC's perceived importance of this very important and populated geographic jurisdiction? The Asian umbrella has been further broken down into two sub-categories: China and India. Whatever happened to Pakistan? Is this an official indication, from the BBC, that readers from Pakistan begin to look elsewhere for their daily news consumption?

    I'm certain the BBC will realise how 'out of touch' they really are with their readers, as they begin to notice the readership numbers fall.

  • Comment number 70.

    OK. You've tried it. Now please go back to the old format.

    The Asia page is dominated by news from the former South Asia page.

    This is a dis-service to the erstwhile pages - Asia has its place and South Asia has its place.

    You still have a Middle East section ... what is the Middle East? It is different areas to different people.

    Similarly, events in places like Pakistan and India are important enough in today's world to warrant a separate section - it's called South Asia.

    Please go back to the old format. It is so much easier to follow the news that we want to follow.

  • Comment number 71.

    The problem is that you currently report Asia news under 3 headings, East Asia, South Asia, and Middle East. Are you going to split Middle East between Asia and North Africa, so that your new Asia heading includes all of Asia? Or wouldn't it really just be better to leave things alone? Anyone who is incapable of distinguishing between South Asia, East Asia and Middle East won't be looking at these pages anyway. Please give your readers some credit. And go back to the original arrangement. This is just change for change's sake, and makes no sense.

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    In the other news blogs there are links to America, Africa, Europe and Australia but no Asia (or Russia/former soviet bloc countries, a bit off-topic maybe). I would think China and Japan are as inportant as the land down under.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    I have just visited the asia section of the website and there are no articles about Australia and only one about NZ and I would classify it as a 'Sun' type story. This new design of the website has clearly failed. With the huge number of British people in Australasia had previously used the bbc they as a source of news what are they to do? Very dissapointed. There is still a very real need for a Asia pacific or more accurately an 'Australasia' tab on BBC news.


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