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December 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

While state-controlled broadcasters have attempted to buttress the besieged Arab regimes caught up in uprisings across North Africa, the BBC’s Arabic-language broadcasts have increased their audiences 80 percent, according to a study by the International Audience Research Program (IARP) conducted in Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco. The biggest increase was seen in Egypt, where the regime of Hosni Mubarak was toppled. The study found that the BBC’s audience nearly quadrupled there during the “Arab Spring,” reaching 9.3 million people. In a statement, Liliane Landor of BBC Global News said, “In turbulent times, the BBC’s aim to provide trusted news and impartial information is more valued than ever across the Middle East and North Africa. These impressive figures show that international audiences are increasingly turning to the BBC for independent news that they can trust. In an increasingly competitive TV market, it demonstrates that there will always be space for high-quality journalism that seeks to inform all, evenhandedly.” In a surprising result, the study found that while the television audience rose throughout the region, the radio audience fell, from 11.5 million to 10.1 million. The study said that the decline of the BBC’s Arabic radio audience reflected “wider changes in the region in how audiences are consuming news via other technologies.”