BBC announces plans to launch 24-hour Arabic TV news channel
UPI News Service, 10/25/2005
The BBC Tuesday announced its World Service is planning a 24-hour Arabic TV news channel to compete with Qatar-based al-Jazeera.
The BBC will close 10 of its other foreign language services, most in central Europe to pay for the Arabic service. Up to 200 people could be laid off in the process, the BBC said.
The World Service provides news in English and 42 other languages and is funded by a parliamentary grant, administered by the Foreign Office.
"In many parts of the world, especially the Middle East, the number of people watching television is rising, while radio audiences are falling, so the BBC believes the World Service must change focus to maintain and enhance its reach and reputation," BBC media correspondent Rebecca Jones said.
Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera is preparing to launch a 24-hour English-language channel in spring 2006.