BBC Arabic radio stops broadcasting Byd | Deshabhimani

Manama > BBC Arabic radio has stopped broadcasting after 85 years of operation. The move is part of cost cutting. The BBC officially ended Arabic radio broadcasting at 4pm local Saudi time on Friday. Presenter Mahmoud Almosalami broke the news about the termination of the service. Hundreds of thousands of people witnessed the final broadcast.

At least 382 people will lose their jobs at the BBC World Service. The BBC announced last September that it would be closing Arabic and Persian radio stations as part of a wider plan to cut costs on World Service channels and focus on digital content production. As part of a wider effort to save £50m a year, it was announced that closing Arabic and Persian radio stations would save £2.85m. The BBC will also stop producing radio programs in 10 languages, including Chinese and Hindi.

BBC Arabic Radio was launched on 3 January 1938 as the first foreign language radio broadcast of the BBC’s Empire Service. The broadcast was from London and Cairo. The Egyptian journalist, Ahmed Kamal Zaroor, was the first presenter. The radio called Huna London (It’s London) was very popular.

Following the closure, many journalists, industry professionals and public activists took to social media to share their grief over the closure. Many described the radio shutdown as ‘the end of an era’. The BBC began broadcasting in Arabic in response to propaganda in Arabic by Germany and Italy about Britain’s presence and interests in the Gulf and West Asia.

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