According to a report seen by BMA, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has begun plans to shut down the Hausa Service broadcast operations as part of efforts to transition entirely from TV and radio to digital channels.
It is confirmed that the “streamlining operation” will affect not only BBC Hausa TV but also its other radio and TV outlets, including Somali TV and Afrique TV broadcast stations. In addition, other programmes in African languages will also be converted to digital programming, and certain children’s programmes will cease to run.
It is also reported that the service’s famous current affairs TV show ‘Focus on Africa’, which has aired for over 50 years, will be converted into a podcast.
The BBC said that the transition was necessary to match the needs and habits of its audience. “Audience needs and habits are changing, and we know there is huge potential for digital growth across the continent,” said a BBC spokesperson.
The representative, however, assured that the BBC was still “totally committed to bringing impartial, independent journalism to people across Africa” and would not stop serving its African audience in local languages.
Some BBC employees criticised the concept arguing that not all Africans have easy access to the internet and that the corporation did not factor in the expensive cost of data for its 63 million-strong African audience.
BBC’s digital transition will result in a significant job loss for many journalists who work with the corporation’s Africa team.
Paul Siegart, a representative of the National Union of Journalists in the UK, pleaded with the lawmakers to support their campaign urging the BBC management to reconsider the plans.
Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania comprise three of BBC’s largest African audiences.