In what it is billing as part of its biggest expansion since the 1940s, the BBC’s international news service is launching news services in the Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya languages online and on Facebook ahead of the launch of shortwave radio services later this year.
The new BBC services will provide news, current affairs and analysis of Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as regional and international news.
Programmes will target a younger audience with social media playing a key role, according to the BBC World Service. In addition to news and current affairs, the service will offer coverage of culture, entertainment, entrepreneurship, science and technology, health and sport, including the English Premier League.
Francesca Unsworth, BBC World Service director, said: “The BBC World Service brings independent, impartial news to audiences around the world, especially in places where media freedom is limited. I’m delighted we’re extending our service to millions of people in Ethiopia, Eritrea and the diaspora worldwide.”
Will Ross, editorial lead for Africa, said: “We know that there is a great deal of hunger for audiences in Ethiopia and Eritrea to access a broad range of high quality content in Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya. It has been a privilege to work with Ethiopian and Eritrean journalists who are so keen to learn new skills and to ensure the new language services are a success.”