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The BBC World Service has announced its biggest expansion since the 1940s in a move designed to bring its independent journalism to millions more people around the world, including those in places where media freedom is under threat. The BBC World Service will also expand its digital services to offer more mobile and video content, a greater social media presence and new ways of reaching its audience around the globe.
The BBC World Service will launch eleven new services in the following languages – Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Gujarati, Igbo, Korean, Marathi, Pidgin, Punjabi, Telugu, Tigrinya, and Yoruba. This means the BBC World Service will be available in forty languages including English. The expansion will also mean more journalists on the ground in locations across the world.
The BBC also goes live today with a full digital service in Thai, following the success of the Facebook-only ‘pop-up’ service launched in 2014.
Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC described the initiative as “a historic day” for the BBC, as it announced 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. As we move towards our centenary, my vision is of a confident, outward-looking BBC which brings the best of our independent, impartial journalism and world-class entertainment to half a billion people around the world. Today is a key step towards that aim.”