CRI在线收听:BBC World Service Stops Mandarin Broadcasts
BBC World Service Stops Mandarin Broadcasts
After almost seventy years the Chinese department of the BBC World Service is to stop broadcasting in Mandarin. The move is part of wider budget cuts from the British government, which funds the BBC. In total the World service will stop broadcasting in six other languages and close five language departments. CRI's Dominic Swire brings us this report about how media consumption in China and the rest of the world is changing.
A radio jingle from the BBC's Chinese service. It's broadcast on shortwave in Mandarin, the most popular dialect of the Chinese language. But it won't be for much longer.
The end of March this year will see the final Mandarin broadcast from the BBC World Service. The decision was made to save money following budget cuts from the British government. Around eight staff will be made redundant from a team of over forty. Raymond Li is the head of Chinese at the BBC World Service. He says the need to save money gave him a tough choice.
"We were given two options. One was, obviously, to stop our shortwave radio broadcasts. The other option would be to significantly reduce the online production. So, given these two hard choices, unfortunately we had to make the hard decision to stop the radio broadcast."
The cuts come as the BBC World Service prepares for changes in 2014. This will see funding switch to proceeds from the television license fee, which is used to fund the rest of the BBC. As a result the World Service aims to save forty six million pounds per year over the next three years.
Raymond Li from the BBC's World Service says he was both surprised and saddened about the decision to reduce the World Service funding. But he accepts this is due to modernization.
"We didn't expect the British economy was so bad, or that government spending was so bad! On the other hand, yes, it is a sad decision to stop the shortwave Mandarin radio broadcast. But in light of the advancement of media technologies, I would say the shortwave media platform is probably a bit old and if we want to move forward perhaps at some point we have to give up shortwave radio broadcast."
The demise of shortwave radio is part of a global trend. Over the past few years broadcasters such as Germany's Deutsche Welle, Japan's NHK and Voice of America have all cut or reduced their shortwave output.
Dr. Gao Guiwu is a media expert at Renmin University. He says shortwave radio broadcasting is not as important as it used to be, even in China.
"Now we have many, many ways to learn about the world, especially on the internet. We can learn about the USA, the UK and other western countries from the internet and other media. So the BBC is not the only channel for Chinese to learn about the world."
Although the BBC's Mandarin broadcasts will be stopped, the World Service will continue making radio programmes in Cantonese.
For CRI, I'm Dominic Swire.