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BBC to broadcast in Yoruba, Igbo, others

Akeem Lasisi

The BBC World Service is set to broadcast in 11 new languages.

Among them are Yoruba, Igbo and Pidgin.

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Others are Afaan Oromo and Amharic, spoken in Ethiopia; Tigrinya, the main language of Eritrea; Gujarati, Marathi and Telugu and Punjabi.

The World Service started out in 1932 as a radio channel for English-speakers in the British empire but has transformed over time into a respected provider of news to global audiences.

It already broadcasts in 29 languages, including Hausa, reaching an estimated 246 million people around the world every week.

The expansion is said to be as a result of a funding injection of 289 million until 2020 announced by the government last year.

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 According to the BBC Director General, Tony Hall, the move is historical and reinforces the importance of the organisation globally.

Hall said, “This is a historic day for the BBC, as we announce the biggest expansion of the World Service since the 1940s. The BBC World Service is a jewel in the crown – for the BBC and for Britain.”

Also, Director of the World Service, Fran Unsworth, the new funding from government would have no impact on the service’s independence.

She said, “Where the money comes from is irrelevant. The World Service is going to do what it’s always done – go over the heads of government providing a service directly to citizens of the world.”

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