British MPs want BBC Hindi to survive cuts

London: In view of India`s rise as a `major economic power`, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of British parliament on Wednesday called for a reversal of the recent decision to close the BBC Hindi service as part of the David Cameron government`s plans to cut budget deficit.
 
Under plans announced on 26 January, the BBC Hindi shortwave service was scheduled to close by March 2011, along with the closure of five other radio services of the BBC World Service.
 
However, following public criticism, the BBC announced a one-year reprieve for the Hindi service.
 
The Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report: "We conclude that the proposed closure of the BBC Hindi shortwave service is a matter of deep concern.
 
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".
 
Announcing the reprieve on 7 March, the BBC stated that following approaches from commercial parties with "alternative funding proposals", the World Service would maintain an hour of current affairs broadcasting in Hindi on shortwave radio, for an interim period.
 
If alternative commercial funding cannot be found, the Hindi service is still scheduled to close by March 2012  The committee said: "The decision to offer the service a limited and temporary reprieve, contingent on alternative commercial sources of funding being found, offers only partial reassurance".
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