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BBC: Arabic Television Service

Volume 688: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the reasons for BBC World's planned Arabic television service offering less than 24-hour coverage. [HL879]

BBC World Service (BBCWS) approached the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2005 with a proposal to launch a12-hour Arabic TV service. The proposal made it clear that BBCWS was confident, based on careful research, that a 12-hour service would make a significant impact. A 12-hour service was deemed to be correct when assessed against the availability of funding and the relative priority weightings attached to BBCWS's global aims and objectives. Arabic TV will be a very significant development in the history of BBCWS: its first ever vernacular TV service. Arabic TV will be part of a tri-media BBCWS offering in Arabic that will continue to include 24/7 services on radio and online. The BBCWS has an aspiration to move to a 24-hour service as and when funding can be made available and will bid to secure additional funding as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.