• | 12:00 pm

BBC splits India news operations

Collective Newsroom, the new company founded by ex-BBC staffers, will create news content in six Indian languages for the British broadcaster 

BBC splits India news operations
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

The BBC is splitting its India operations from Wednesday as an independent company, called the Collective Newsroom, will now produce content for the British broadcaster in six languages.

The BBC will retain its newsgathering team in India for its English language digital, television, and radio outlets headquartered in London.

The step has been taken to comply with India’s foreign investment law, the BBC said. 

As per India’s foreign direct investment rules, up to 26% of foreign investment is allowed in streaming news and current affairs through digital media, with government approval. 

The Indian-run company will provide BBC with content in six Indian languagesBBC News Hindi, BBC News Marathi, BBC News Gujarati, BBC News Punjabi, BBC News Tamil, and BBC News Telugu.

Collective Newsroom has been set up by four senior BBC India staffersRupa Jha, Mukesh Sharma, Sanjoy Majumder, and Sara Hassan.

The new company will also create content for other news providers across India and globally.

“Publishing from India, Collective Newsroom will create programs and content for our first client, the BBC, and is available to make content for other news providers across India and around the globe,” the company said on its website.

The company will also produce content for the BBC in English for digital and on YouTube for Indian audiences.

The BBC has also applied for a 26% stake in the new company. 

The new company has “a clear, ambitious mission to create the most credible, creative and courageous journalism,” Rupa Jha, chief executive of Collective Newsroom, said.

“Audiences will quickly come to know Collective Newsroom as an independent news organization that leads with the facts, works in the public interest and hears from diverse voices and perspectives,” she added. 

While about 200 former BBC employees have joined the new company, the remaining staff will work directly for the BBC’s UK operations, reporting to editors in London. Their work will still be available to Indian audiences, although it will not be published in India, the BBC said.

While the move was announced in December, the split came into effect on Wednesday, 10 April. 

“The BBC’s presence in India is steeped in a rich history that has always put audiences first, so we warmly welcome the formation of Collective Newsroom which continues that progression. The BBC will get first class content from Collective Newsroom that will be rooted in India and in line with the editorial standards audiences expect from the BBC. We look forward to working with them,” Jonathan Munro, deputy CEO, BBC News said at the time of the announcement. 

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