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Last Updated : Jun 17, 2011 08:31 PM IST | Source: PTI

BBC Hindi will survive funding cuts: Patten

Terming the BBC Hindi Service as "very important", Lord Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust and chancellor of the University of Oxford, today said the service will survive the major funding cuts that had severely affected its future.


Terming the BBC Hindi Service as "very important", Lord Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust and chancellor of the University of Oxford, today said the service will survive the major funding cuts that had severely affected its future.


Patten, who recently took over as chairman of the BBC Trust, told PTI here that due to the importance of the Hindi Service and increasingly deeper relations India, he was making all efforts to ensure its survival amidst funding cuts.


"We will ensure that an alternate funding model will be in place to ensure its future beyond March 2012. The Hindi Service will resume broadcast bulletins in the morning and evenings," Patten, who opened the first Oxford-India Day here, said.


He added: "We have been able to mitigate the damage caused to the service (by the recent funding cuts)".


As part of the cuts announced in January, the BBC Hindi Service was to close in March, but after much criticism in India and here, it was given a year''s reprieve (until March 2012) to explore an alternate model of funding to ensure its continued functioning.


According to Patten, the Hindi service was at "the core of what the BBC is doing", and said he would discuss future funding of the Hindi Service with Foreign Secretary William Hague.


In its latest report, the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee said the proposed closure of the Hindi Service was a matter of "deep concern", and recommended that the BBC World Service should "commit itself to longer-term support for an unreduced BBC Hindi shortwave service".


It said: "We note that India is a major rising economic power and that the Government has professed its wish to improve bilateral relations as a priority. We further note that the estimated savings from reducing World Service operations in India, at 680,000 pounds, are small in relation to the nearly 11 million listeners that will be lost."


Responding to the committee's findings on the Hindi Service, the Foreign Office responded: "The BBC World Service told us that they made a decision to cease short wave broadcast in view of a falling short wave audience, and their broader decision to move away from short wave transmission".


The response added: "We were not formally consulted on this decision and we believe that the case they advanced for closure was not compelling.

We welcome the World Service's decision to identify savings from within its budgets to give the service the chance to explore a new operating model. We very much hope that the reprieve will continue, either through a new model of funding, or from the BBC identifying funds from their own resources".



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First Published on Jun 17, 2011 07:47 pm
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