ISSN: 1550-7521

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Research Article Open Access

Is the BBC Urdu Service becoming Pakistan's National Broadcaster? An Enquiry into the causes of BBC Urdu's success in Pakistan


Excessive control of state-owned radio broadcasting by various governments in Pakistan has diminished its credibility among the people of the country. The state broadcaster, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation lacks the credibility to efficiently convey information and ideas to the home and overseas audiences. Pakistani governments often rely on a foreign radio station, the Urdu language programming of the BBC World Service, to transmit their messages to Pakistanis. The practice on the one hand erodes the authority and credibility of the national radio broadcaster and on the other, increases the influence of BBC World Service in the national life of Pakistan. The BBC Urdu Service thus seems to function as the national radio broadcaster of Pakistan. The interests of the country as indeed the nation-building project itself may be partly under the influence of a radio station whose basic operating policies are determined by the government of Great Britain. This paper explores BBC Urdu Service’s role in the national life of Pakistan. Additionally, the paper studies the state’s media policies and its interaction with BBC Urdu.

Wasim Ghani

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