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Posted at: Oct 3, 2017, 1:37 AM; last updated: Oct 3, 2017, 3:17 AM (IST)

BBC launches its Punjabi service

According to BBC, Punjabi is the 11th most spoken language in the world. It is used by 100 million people.

Ashis Ray

London, October 2

In a significant foray into India, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Britain’s flagship broadcaster, considered to be the most influential in the world, launched a Punjabi service on Monday. 

BBC News Punjabi will initially be online and on social media. It would include video coverage. In its blurb, BBC advertised Punjabi as the 11th most spoken language in the world, used by 100 million people—the highest number of them in Pakistan. It pointed out that among famous Punjabis was former Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. And that seven Indian Army Chiefs and six Air Force Chiefs have hailed from Punjab. 

The corporation simultaneously introduced services in Gujarati, Marathi and Telugu. This is in addition to the long existing Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Tamil services. It is also relaunching a nightly TV news bulletin in Hindi, BBC Duniya, to be aired on India News. 

BBC’s Director General Lord Anthony Hall flew in to India to be present at the multiple unfurling of services. Speaking from Delhi, he said: “For decades, audiences in India have trusted the BBC to bring them impartial, independent news, and today millions more have the chance to access the BBC in their own languages.” He added: “We want to bring BBC News to new audiences, particularly the next generation of news consumers.”

The Delhi bureau of BBC is now the largest it possesses outside Britain. With two new TV studios being added to its facilities, it will become a video, TV and digital content production hub for the whole of South Asia. In tandem with this expansion, the corporation is recruiting 150 new journalistic staff across India. The outreach was made possible by a £291 million investment by the British government into BBC’s external services. 


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