BBC Hindi will survive funding cuts: Patten

Lord Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, termed the BBC Hindi Service as "very important.

Oxford: Terming the BBC Hindi Service as "very important", Lord Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust and chancellor of the University of Oxford, on Friday said the service will survive the major funding cuts that had severely affected its future.

Patten, who recently took over as chairman of the BBC Trust, said here that due to the importance of the Hindi Service and increasingly deeper relations with India, he was making all efforts to ensure its survival amidst funding cuts.

"We will ensure that an alternate funding model will be in place to ensure its future beyond March 2012. The Hindi Service will resume broadcast bulletins in the morning and evenings," Patten, who opened the first Oxford-India Day here, said.

He added: "We have been able to mitigate the damage caused to the service (by the recent funding cuts)". As part of the cuts announced in January, the BBC Hindi Service was to close in March, but after much criticism in India and here, it was given a year`s reprieve (until March 2012) to explore an alternate model of funding to ensure its continued functioning.

According to Patten, the Hindi service was at "the core of what the BBC is doing", and said he would discuss future funding of the Hindi Service with Foreign Secretary
William Hague.

In its latest report, the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee said the proposed closure of the Hindi Service was a matter of "deep concern", and recommended that the BBC World Service should "commit itself to longer-term support for an unreduced BBC Hindi shortwave service".


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