BBC to run 'pop-up' news stream in Thailand
One of the fundamental principles of the World Service is to bring impartial and accurate news and to countries when they lack it. We think the time is right to trial a new Thai and English digital stream to bring trusted news and information to people inside Thailand.Liliane Landor, Controller of Language Services for the World Service
The operation will be digital-only and ‘social first’, that is, a news stream on social media, with both Thai and English content, and it will run for an initial period of three months.
The move follows the military coup in May after which international channels, including BBC World News TV, were taken off air temporarily.
Liliane Landor, Controller of Language Services for the World Service, said: “One of the fundamental principles of the World Service is to bring impartial and accurate news and to countries when they lack it. We think the time is right to trial a new Thai and English digital stream to bring trusted news and information to people inside Thailand.
“Thailand is one of the most digitally advanced societies in South East Asia and this means we can set up this operation quickly and cost-effectively.”
The World Service’s Thai Service closed in 2006 after more than 60 years on air.
The BBC has sought and received approval from the Foreign Secretary for this move, as set out in the Operating Licence governing the relationship between the World Service and the Government.
Hugo Swire, the Minister for South East Asia, said the move was an "excellent idea" which would "help support the freedoms of expression and thought which are such critical parts of any successful democracy", and that "this initiative embodies what the BBC is all about".
The news stream will launch tomorrow on Facebook, with Thai, regional and international news in Thai and English.
Thailand has 96m mobile subscriptions out of a population of 67m.
Thailand has 24m Facebook users, with over 13m in Bangkok alone (a growth of 320% in last 12 months).
Notes for Editors
BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster delivering a wide range of language and regional services on radio, TV, online and via wireless handheld devices. BBC World Service uses multiple platforms to reach its weekly audience of over 191 million globally. The BBC attracts a weekly global audience of 265 million people to its international news services including BBC World Service, BBC World News television channel and bbc.com/news.
For more information please contact:
Charlotte Morgan - Charlotte.Morgan01@bbc.co.uk
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