BBC Urdu announces to do away with programming on Aaj TV
By Tanveer Abbas
Islamabad (TP) January 16, 2021: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service has announced to do away with its flagship Urdu programme “Sairbeen” on Aaj TV after what it said “consistent interference in its editorial policy”.
In a press statement, BBC World Service Director Jimie Angus said that the BBC Urdu has ended telecast of its flagship news and current affairs programme Sairbeen on Aaj TV, citing “intervention” in policy matters.
“The BBC World Service has stopped broadcasting the BBC Urdu TV programme ‘Sairbeen’ on the Pakistani TV channel ‘Aaj’,” the British news channel said in a statement late Friday night.
Announcing the development, BBC World Service Director Jamie Angus said in a statement: “Any interference in our programmes is a breach of trust between us and our viewers, which we cannot allow. ‘ The director did not give any details of interference.
“We have been seeing interference in our news bulletins since October 2020, and we have given Aaj TV ample time to re-air the programme,” he said.
Angus said that despite well-intentioned efforts from both sides, the BBC Sairbeen could not be resumed due to the intervention and the BBC now has no choice but to immediately end its partnership with Aaj TV
Jamie Angus said: “The BBC regrets the end of its TV broadcast in Pakistan, but the BBC viewers still can watch the BBC Urdu TV programme ‘Sairbeen’ on BBC Urdu.com, BBC Urdu Facebook page and BBC Urdu’s YouTube channel from Monday to Friday at 7 pm.
BBC Urdu had started broadcasting its programme ‘Sairbeen’ in 2014 after a partnership agreement with ‘Aaj’ TV. In this agreement, which was in line with the BBC’s policy of agreement with other countries, the BBC develops its programme in terms of local language and local audience under an independent editorial policy, and the local TV channel broadcasts the programme.
The BBC has also entered into such partnership agreements with private channels in other countries, but in each agreement the editorial authority remains with the BBC.
In December last year, BBC Urdu had announced that it would end the radio broadcast of Sairbeen by the end of 2020. According to a report, a BBC public survey in 2018 revealed that the number of listeners of radio on shortwave had vastly fallen in Pakistan due to rapidly increasing TV audiences and widespread access to digital media.