Saturday, February 26, 2011

BBC ends Spanish radio broadcasts for Latin America

25 February 2011 Last updated at 23:57 GMT

BBC ends Spanish radio broadcasts for Latin America

The BBC has ended its radio broadcasts in Spanish for Latin America, 73
years after they first went on air.

The radio service has been closed as a result of cuts to the World
Service budget, but the BBC's Spanish-language website, BBC Mundo, will

The BBC Serbian and Portuguese for Africa services have also been closed.

BBC managers say they have had to make tough choices because of a 16%
cut in the British government's funding for the World Service.

The BBC Latin American service was launched on 14 March 1938 to counter
propaganda from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy on the eve of World War II.

It faced its greatest challenge during the Falklands War between Britain
and Argentina in 1982, when its journalists were determined to maintain
objectivity in the face of pressure from the British government.

But radio output had been substantially reduced in recent years in
favour of the internet, with the remaining broadcasts mainly intended
for Cuba.

BBC Mundo editor Hernando Alvarez said the end of Spanish-language radio
was a sad moment, but the BBC's journalism would still be available to
audiences in Latin America via the internet and mobile phones.

The Portuguese for Africa service has also been broadcasting since the

It was an important source of news during the conflicts in Mozambique
and Angola following their independence from Portugal, and has closed
with a record audience of 1.5 million listeners.

The BBC's English language radio service for the Caribbean will stop
broadcasting on 25 March after 72 years on air.

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