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British public diplomacy: A case study of the BBC Hausa Service

Tasiu Abubakar, A. (2014). British public diplomacy: A case study of the BBC Hausa Service. In: Mirchandani, R. & Abubakar, A. (Eds.), Britain’s International Broadcasting. CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy. (pp. 31-49). California, USA: Figueroa Press.


Perhaps the most reputable broadcaster in the world, the BBC World Service is Britain’s most recognizable soft power resource. Combining the leverages of a long-established institution with a wide network of reporters, well-resourced journalism and skillful deployment of distribution technologies, the World Service has managed to maintain an edge over rival broadcasters. But the inherent contradiction of providing “impartial” news service and promoting British public diplomacy presents a formidable dilemma, as do its dwindling funding conditions and the declining fortunes of Britain in the contemporary global setting. This article looks at the BBC World Service in terms of its engagement with audiences in Africa and its relationship with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, within the conceptual framework of soft power and public diplomacy. Using the documentary research technique and individual and focus group interviews, the study specifically examines BBC’s relationship with Nigeria—its largest radio market in the world—to unveil both the effectiveness and limitations of its public diplomacy role.

Publication Type: Book Section
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
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