'End of British soft power': Arabs and Iranians react to BBC Arabic, Persian cuts
Listeners of BBC Radio Arabic and Persian have criticised the broadcasting service for choosing to terminate their establishments after nearly 80 years of service.
The BBC announced on Thursday that it plans to axe several services of the BBC World Service – meaning nearly 400 employes will lose their jobs.
The move - which will put 382 people out of work - is a part of a cost-cutting programme and a move to digitalise platforms.
The BBC said it has been "led to tough choices" following the government’s ongoing license fee freeze and high inflation.
However, its audience has condemned the BBC for cutting access to another outlet for those already living under media censorship, while others celebrated the falls of one of the legacies of the British empire.
BBC World Services was launched in 1932 as the BBC Empire Service, but rebranded as the World Service in 1965. It was fully funded by the UK government until 2014.
Outrageous that the BBC World Service faces cuts.— Bambos Charalambous MP (@Bambos_MP) September 30, 2022
As my friend @FabianLeedsNE outlines, this is no time to diminish Britain’s soft power around the world, especially in the Middle East where BBC Persian is set to end audio broadcasts in Iran while nationwide protests take place. https://t.co/CfWWawMP1T
The future of global coverage of the current uprising in Iran, sparked by the death of Kurdish-Iranain woman Mahsa Amini was of particular concern for many.
Iran uses dead body of protesters to silence their families.— Parham Ghobadi (@BBCParham) September 30, 2022
Security forces have refused to give back the body of Nika Shahkarami, a 17-y/o girl killed in protests after 10 days, her aunt told BBC Persian.
She burnt her scarf in Tehran on Sep20 & then went missing till yesterday pic.twitter.com/mN0OcgyUZm
Many have expressed sadness because of the impact their services had on their lives, with some even recalling growing up with BBC Arabic radio.
BBC Arabic has permanently closed after 84 years on the air, very sad for the people who have lived with it their whole lives.#BBC_Arabic— Rizg Al (@zyoudijo) September 30, 2022
Did not listen to bbc Arabic in 20 years. But I still remember, in the 80s and 90s Damascus, in every small shop and home the iconic @BBCArabic start of the news— Dr Amer Alwarea (@Amer_dol) September 30, 2022
"Here is London"
Followed by the Big Ben bells...🔔🔔 https://t.co/YGqFaumJcV
Childhood memories were also recalled.
We’re going to miss one of must beautiful childhood memories.— Blesa Shaways (@Bilesa_Shaweys) September 30, 2022
Still remember my father’s radio, he was just receiving a news from #bbcarabic & #montecarlo radios.
No more 📻 هنا لندن، بي بي سي https://t.co/VczzwIvXpi
With the large number of people recalling the BBC services in the background of their lives, many recognised the power that the to-be axed international services had on their opinions, sparking debates on the future of British soft power.
That is one crazy decision. The BBC Arabic Service, which has been running since the 1930a, has had immense influence in shaping opinion in the Arab world. It is a byword for reliable information.— Jonathan Wright (@jnthnwrght) September 29, 2022
BBC Radio Cuts— Grouse Beater (@Grouse_Beater) September 29, 2022
BBC is making savage cuts to its World Service output: 10 languages, including Chinese, Hindi, Arabic and BBC Persian. About 382 jobs will be lost, which the BBC said was required to make £28.5m of annual savings. As a propaganda unit, UK's influence will wane. pic.twitter.com/RLv7SsLLij
Glad that finally Grt Britain has come to terms with reality that it isnt a global power...the Shutting down of most services on @BBCWorld is a painful but pragmatic realisation that GREAT BRITAIN is now little Britannia and BBC propaganda has no imperial client to serve!— Ahmednasir Abdullahi SC (@ahmednasirlaw) September 30, 2022
The BBC World Service has been both a boon to the world and an astonishingly successful arm of British foreign policy and soft power. Cutting it is the latest evidence that "Global Britain" is a sham: Britain is well on its way to becoming Iceland with trees. https://t.co/nvB4QoWD0D— Dan Gardner (@dgardner) September 30, 2022