Launch of BBC digital Pidgin service marks the start of its biggest language expansion in 70 years

The BBC World Service has launched the first new language service in its biggest expansion since the 1940s.

A digital Pidgin service for West Africa was launched on Monday this week. It will shortly be followed by new online services in Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya, aimed at Ethiopia, Eritrea and diaspora audiences around the world.  Further services, including Korean, are set to launch from this autumn. This expansion means BBC News will operate in more than 40 languages.

Pidgin is spoken by an estimated 75m people in Nigeria alone, with additional speakers in Cameroon, Ghana, and Equatorial Guinea.

The Pidgin service is fully digital featuring six daily editions of BBC Minute – a 60-second audio news update – followed by two daily news video bulletins in November. Two further services for West Africa – Yoruba and Igbo – will launch at the beginning of next year.

The Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya services will launch online and on dedicated Facebook pages next month. This will be followed later in the year with shortwave radio services in each language, consisting of a 15-minute news and current affairs programme, followed by a 5-minute Learning English programme, from Monday-Friday.

For the full announcement and more information, visit the BBC Media Centre.

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