Al-Jazeera, you've got competition:

"The BBC's first foreign language radio service was launched in 1938. It was in Arabic. Sixty seven years later the first BBC funded foreign language TV service is to be launched.

Again it will be in Arabic.


Al-Jazeera's view though is interesting. It welcomes the arrival of the BBC.

Yosri Fouda, the London Bureau Chief, says: 'Al-Jazeera's main enemy has been a lack of another al-Jazeera.'"

So - the BBC is another al-Jazeera? All right, sir. On occasion, perhaps. On its bad days.

Of course, Czechs and others watching are indirectly aware that something is going on. It was announced this week that the BBC is ending its five hours a day, 0.1% audience share Czech language service after many years. Reason: to divert funds toward their new Arabic TV service.

I'm sorry to see them go. A little. I was only an occasional listener. Other former Soviet bloc countries are losing their local language services too. I wonder how much they're saving? I suppose it costs something to run a little radio studio for five hours a day, but a full time Arabic TV service is going to cost a lot of riyals. I hope they know what they're doing.

Steve | 17:24 |