News & Conflicts

BBC launches Its largest bureau outside UK In Kenya

The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster and it is the world’s oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by a number of employees. For the last few years, most of its journalistic activities have happened from their base in the UK but as Africa grows into a stronger continent filled with refreshing content and stories BBC has today launched its largest bureau outside of the UK in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Close to 300 of the 600 BBC journalists working across Africa are based in the new, state-of-the-art facility, they claim. The expansion is being funded by $376m (£289m) from the UK government.

“Our most important investment will be in training the next generation of African reporters and producers to world-class standards,” Francesca Unsworth, Director of BBC News, said.

The production facilities at the bureau include a TV studio and two further live broadcast positions, two radio studios, two radio workspaces and five TV edit suites. Earlier this year another major hub was opened in Nigeria’s commercial city of Lagos, where three new language services are based, while there was also an expansion of the French service based in Senegal’s capital, Dakar. The BBC World Service opened its Nairobi bureau in 1998. It now broadcasts in a total of 12 African languages – plus English.

“We are celebrating the African journalists and programme makers here today who will carry the torch of BBC professionalism, accuracy and impartiality into the future,” Rachael Akidi Okwir, Head of East Africa Languages for the BBC World Service said.

Nairobi-based services:

  • Afaan Oromo: Language of Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group
  • Amharic: Ethiopia’s official language
  • Tigrinya: The main working language of Eritrea, along with Arabic. Also spoken in Ethiopia

Lagos-based services:

  • Igbo: An official Nigerian language. Also spoken in Equatorial Guinea
  • Yoruba: Spoken in south-western Nigeria and some other parts of West Africa, especially Benin and Togo
  • Pidgin: A creole version of English widely spoken in southern Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea

The official opening of the new bureau coincides with the launch of Money Daily, a new business TV programme. It is one of several new shows being produced in Nairobi. One of the new services, BBC’s new investigative unit, Africa Eye.

This means a lot for the African news ecosystem which has native African media networks establishing themselves to report their own news without the interference of big cooperations like BBC or CNN.

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