New Hindi programme to present news from Indian perspective

To win the hearts and minds of Hindi-speaking television viewers, BBC World Service on Wednesday announced that its Hindi programme “Global India” to be aired on five channels of ETV from Friday, will present international news and the volatile political scene from the perspective of the Indian audience.

Acknowledging the popularity of the regional language in the Hindi heartland, BBC World Service Head of Journalism (Africa, Americas, Europe, South and East Asia) Nikki Clarke said since 1940 Hindi had been important to the international multimedia broadcaster. “Since that period the Indian television industry has seen a drastic change. There is greater access to different forms of media. TV has become a popular medium of expression and we have to meet the new expectations. We are not seeking to be a channel. The title of our show makes it amply clear that the show will focus on India and the world. We will inform the viewers about the Indian Peace Keeping Force, the global strategies and Indian specific stories weaved in an interesting way.”

But the BBC show will also present its usual stories like the Arab Spring, the engaging U.S. Presidential elections and the European financial crisis.

Since the new show will be a weekly, it will give a different dimension to the news already presented on satellite channels and analysed in newspapers. “We will give a new perspective to what has already been reported. If we are reporting about the hurricane on the east coast of the United States then we would analyse its potential impact on the Presidential election, business and Indian business. We will present specific stories. We do not have culture as a slot in the 30-minute show but inevitably culture will be a part. Every genre of news like national and international politics, technical and health stories will be presented.”

Admitting that the partnership with ETV network has been beneficial to the international broadcaster, Nikki said: “This is a great development for the BBC in India and it shows our commitment to our Hindi-speaking audience. The editorial thrust reflects the strong interest of stories which are important to India and are brought by our world-renowned newsgathering operation. The stories would have to add value because we are entering a vibrant viable domestic market. They would not be repeated.”

On whether announcement of a Hindi-speaking channel was in the offing, Nikki was non-committal. “This is a first step in the world of Hindi television. We have quite a long journey.”

According to BBC World Service Head of Business Development (Asia Pacific) Indu Shekhar Sinha, BBC Hindi has been a household name in the country, respected for its objective and comprehensive reporting on radio and online.

The weekly half-hour show will present the most interesting piece of journalism from across the globe on prime time on ETV Bihar/Jharkhand, ETV Uttar Pradesh/Uttarakhand, ETV Rajasthan, ETV Madhya Pradesh/Chhattisgarh and ETV Urdu.