BBC World Service is running a ‘pop up’ news operation in Thailand. The operation will be digital-only and ‘social first’, that is, a news stream on social media, with both Thai and English content, and it will run for an initial period of three months.
The move follows the military coup in May after which international channels, including BBC World News TV, were taken off air temporarily.
“One of the fundamental principles of the World Service is to bring impartial and accurate news and to countries when they lack it. We think the time is right to trial a new Thai and English digital stream to bring trusted news and information to people inside Thailand,” said Liliane Landor, controller of language services for the World Service. “Thailand is one of the most digitally advanced societies in South East Asia and this means we can set up this operation quickly and cost-effectively.”
The World Service’s Thai Service closed in 2006 after more than 60 years on air. The news stream launched on Facebook, with Thai, regional and international news in Thai and English. Thailand has 24m Facebook users, with over 13m in Bangkok alone (a growth of 320% in last 12 months) and there are 96m mobile subscriptions out of a population of 67m.
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