BBC to air Swahili TV programme
- Published on 27 August 2012
The BBC has entered a deal with the Nation Media Group (NMG) that will see the British broadcasters' first ever TV news and current-affairs programme in Kiswahili aired by the Kenyan media group.
The programme, 'Dira ya Dunia' (Swahili for 'world compass'), will be aired by the NMG's new Swahili TV station, QTV.
Dira ya Dunia has been running on the BBC radio reaching millions of listeners in East and Central Africa, but this is the first time it is being aired on television.
An English version of the programme, 'Focus on Africa', will be aired daily by the NMG's other Kenyan TV station, NTV. Focus on Africa which airs at 11.15pm Kenyan time is presented by the BBC's Komla Dumor and Sophie Ikenye.
The deal is part of the BBC's plan to increase its audience in Africa . The BBC is undertaking a similar deal in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia.
“With the launch of Dira ya Dunia on TV, we are responding to the huge switch in news consumption across Africa we have been witnessing lately, and to the needs of our audience,” Ali Saleh, BBC swahili editor told the Business Daily newspaper.
According to the BBC, the move was inspired by the changing landscape on how the African audience consumes local news. The popularity of TV has been growing in recent years, while radio listenership has been dwindling.
“We selected Nation media because it has national reach, credible, well respected and it is in line with BBC values which are independence and impartiality,” said Solomon Mugera, BBC Africa editor.
As part of the deal, some of NTV's stories will be featured in the BBC’s programme.
“We are excited about this partnership, BBC and NMG are leading brands in their respective market and this will help our audience to get comprehensive news from all parts of the continent,” said Linus Kaikai, the managing editor, Broadcast Division, at NMG.
Earlier in the year, the BBC launched new programming for Africa. The BBC has a weekly audience of 81 million across the continent.