15:26 Nov. 16, 2016
The British government decided to increase the BBC funding to improve the country's soft power
The BBC World Service is to start broadcasting in additional 11 languages as part of its biggest expansion since the 1940s, the corporation reports.
New services in Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Gujarati, Igbo, Korean, Marathi, Pidgin, Punjabi, Telugu, Tigrinya, and Yoruba languages will be launched as early as in 2017.
"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," the BBC director general Tony Hall said.
Besides, the BBC announces plans to extend its news bulletins on Russia with regionalised versions for surrounding countries, which probably includes Ukraine as well. Also, the BBC intends to provide better access to the news for the North Koreans.
"We do believe that there is an opportunity for North Koreans to have access to free and independent and impartial information," the BBC World Service director Fran Unsworth said.
The BBC World Service started global broadcasting as a radio outlet for the British Empire in 1932 and later played a huge role in neutralising the Communist propaganda in the years of the Cold War. Its first programmes got on radio air in 1922, and over the years it became the highly respected world's biggest TV and radio news and entertainment broadcaster, with current 29 language services covering the audience of as many as 348 million of people.
By 2022, in its centenary year, the corporation intends to hit an audience of 500 million.