BBC News Arabic: بي بي سي العربية launched on March 11, 2008 is an Arabic news service operated via satellite by BBC World Service and is funded through British television license fee. The Arabic service includes both radio and television services that are sourced by BBC World Service effectively owned by British Broadcasting Corporation. The radio is headquartered in Broadcasting House in London and also airs from BBC Bureau in Cairo. Middle East and North Africa mainly make the audience of the station.

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The origins of the station date back to 1936 when British Colonial Office established Palestine Broadcasting Service, in Jerusalem. The short wave radio was founded to disseminate British views among the Arab population. The move was introduced to challenge the Italian Literary Arabic language medium wave radio that aired form Bari while also operating from Rome since its inception in 1934. The broadcasts of the Italian service became vehemently anti-Britain following the second Italo-Abyssinian War.

Ahead of the launch of BBC Literary Arabic language radio, British Foreign Office also intended to establish radio operations from Cyprus which at that time was a Crow Colony in the British Empire and was also considered more stable that Palestine politically. British Broadcasting Corporation in 1938 launched the Literary Arabic service which makes it one of the oldest and longest running foreign language news service.

BBC Arabic Television History

BBC News Arabic Television first signed on air in 1994 under the ownership of Orbit Communications Company, a Rome-based company originally owned by Khalid ibn Abdullah and operated by its parent Mawarid Holding. The channel on April 21, 1996 went silent following the airing of a Panorama episode that was critical to Saudi Arabian regime of that time. Ian Richardson who headed the news department blamed the owners for the failure of the station.

The staff of BBC Arabic Television then switched to Al Jazeera which later became a strong competing force against BBC Arabic service. The channel that was pulled off the air in 90s was relaunched on March 11, 2008. Operated by BBC World Service, the channel was initially financed through grant-in-aid from the British Foreign Office but shifted to television license fee in 2014. It is headquartered in the Peel Wing of Broadcasting House in London. The service became a 24-hour broadcaster on Jan 19, 2009.

British government in 2011 applied cuts to the BBC funds prompting in the closure of services in five languages by its operator BBC World Service. However, the cuts didn’t affect the operations of BBC Arabic service as the grants to the Arabic service were incremented by the British government.


The channel runs an hour-long newscast two times a day; the program consists of top stories of the day covered by BBC Correspondents spread across the globe. Half-hour bulletins are also included in the daily news schedule. Headline news is repeated every fifteen minutes. You can watch BBC News Arabic online for the latest news from Middle East, Africa and rest of the globe. Here is the website for live news watch (البث المباشر لتلفزيون بي بي سي عربي):



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