Chris Patten wants to save BBC Hindi Service
Lord Chris Patten, the new chairman of the BBC Trust, considers the Hindi Service as one of the 'core services' of the BBC World Service and wants to save it from deep funding cuts that threatens its existence from March 2012.world Updated: Jun 12, 2011 15:40 IST
Lord Chris Patten, the new chairman of the BBC Trust, considers the Hindi Service as one of the 'core services' of the BBC World Service and wants to save it from deep funding cuts that threatens its existence from March 2012.
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, Somali and Arabic networks are "at the core of what the BBC is doing".
He said he would lobby with Foreign secretary William Hague to ensure that such core activities of the BBC were protected from the funding cuts.
Patten told the Sunday Telegraph, "I'm hoping on Arabic services, we will be able to protect that as something that is at the core of what the BBC is doing.
I'm very keen on the Somali and Hindi services as well. The issue is can we restore some of what was going to be lost and I hope we can".
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.