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BBC World Service steps up content for Afghan audiences

MUMBAI: BBC World Service has stepped up its offer for Afghan audiences with the launch of a daily live TV programme in Pashto, BBC Naray Da Wakht (BBC World Right Now).

Broadcast live from London in prime time (18.00 Kabul Time) on Shamshad TV network, BBC Naray Da Wakht brings 24 minutes of key global and regional news reporting. The show is also available on demand via the BBC Pashto channel on YouTube and the website bbcpashto.com.

BBC Naray Da Wakht builds on the BBC Pashto 15-minute daily news bulletins, broadcast by Shamshad TV since 2014 and watched by a weekly audience of around 1.5 million (2015). Presented by BBC Pashto’s Sana Safi and Amanullah Atta, the new dynamic, hard-hitting live programme provides audiences with in-depth reporting, analysis and interviews. There will also be a weekly interactive slot, Staso Ghazh (Have Your Say), featuring phone-ins, social-media comment as well as video and picture content shared by audiences.

With two in five adult Afghans consuming BBC content each week, Afghanistan is one of the BBC’s highest reaching markets around the world.

BBC Afghan editor Meena Baktash said, “With output in Pashto and Dari, the BBC Afghan team connects with its audiences on all available platforms, and we are thrilled to be expanding our TV programming with BBC Naray Da Wakht. With content from the BBC’s global newsgathering network – including the BBC Afghan, BBC Persian and BBC Urdu – BBC Naray Da Wakht covers the main international and regional developments that resonate with Afghan audiences. Be it politics, business, technology, culture or sports, the new BBC Pashto TV programme will bring our independent, balanced, world-class news coverage to the viewers of Shamshad TV and, via YouTube and our website, to Pashto-speakers anywhere around the world.”

Shamshad TV president Fazel Karim Fazel said, “Shamshad TV is a leading TV channel in Afghanistan, with a countrywide network and an extensive viewership across the country. Reinforcing our channel’s international news remit, the collaboration between Shamshad TV and BBC Pashto has enabled both broadcasters to reach new audiences. We hope that, with the launch of BBC Naray Da Wakht, Shamshad TV and the BBC will build an even stronger relationship with our audiences across the country.”

BBC World Service – of which BBC Afghan service is part – reaches its audiences in Afghanistan on multiple platforms in Pashto, Dari, Persian, Uzbek and English. The BBC claims that its international news services reach 6.6 million people in Afghanistan on radio, TV and online each week, reaching around 40 per cent of the country’s adults.