Libya Benghazi

A boy passes a Kingdom of Libya flag on his way to attending Friday prayers in a street in Benghazi

Credit: شبكة برق | B.R.Q on Flickr. Some rights reserved
The BBC is to extend World Service content to FM radio in two Libyan cities.

In a release today (11 August), the broadcaster announced the launch of content on FM in Benghazi and Misrata.

The move comes weeks after a pledge by the government to increase investment in the service in the face of cuts, but today's launch is not thought to be linked to this funding.

The BBC says the programming, available in each city on FM frequency 91.5, will be principally Arabic radio, with the addition of the World Service English Newshour programme, on a daily basis.

"This year has been a very difficult one for Libyans. It is important for local people to have access to news and information that they can trust, and the BBC has experience of delivering that," Liliane Landor, BBC controller of languages, said in the release.

"We know the people of Libya are keen listeners of BBC Arabic and they regularly participate in our interactive programmes, use our Arabic web service and watch BBC Arabic TV. The new FMs will give the people of Benghazi and Misrata somewhere to turn to for news they can trust and know is accurate."

The BBC World Service faces significant cuts to services and staff after its Grant in Aid from the Foreign Office was reduced by 16 per cent in the government spending review.

Funding for the service is to be taken over by the licence fee from 1 April 2014.

In June, the foreign secretary William Hague pledged an additional £2.2 million a year to the BBC World Service, in particular to maintain investment in BBC Arabic.

In reference to events in the Middle East and North Africa, Hague said the "world has changed" since the government spending review and licence fee settlement last year.

The BBC Trust also announced the reallocation of £9 million worth of existing World Service funding to editorial investment over three years.

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