A review of BBC Urdu news mobile application

BBC Urdu service has launched mobile application for its users

BBC Urdu service has launched mobile application for its users

Get Pakistan Breaking News app for Android now!

BBC Urdu service has came leaps and bounds since its inception on 3rd April, 1949. It has seen the times of war and peace, enjoyed vast popularity in the rural areas of Pakistan in the times of martial law and taken criticism from the patriotic people of Pakistan as a propaganda machine of west and India during 1965 and 1971 wars. Of Course BBC Urdu is not the only Urdu radio service which goes on SW and MW, Voice of America, China Radio International and IRIB Urdu Service (Iranian) are some popular services as well, which all come with their own agenda to spread in Pakistan but BBC Urdu is far most popular in all of the above.

I remember when I was young, my grand father who was living in a country side, was so keen to tune-in to BBC Urdu service at 8p.m and then at around 10:30p.m for sair-been and news. I was also used to listen whenever I would be visiting my grand parents home. I loved the accents of all of the Urdu service team especially of Shafi Naqi Jamai. After the death of grand father, I took his radio with me and I still remember those summer nights, waiting for the sair-been to start. Then came the Internet in my home and everything was changed.

BBC Urdu is famous among rural areas only for one reason. It is still the case that although PTV’s (Pakistan’s state owned television) dominance has been broken by the tens of private news channels, each airing news from their own angle and viewer has got much choice, when it comes to the rural areas, most of the people don’t have TV, even if some have one, their culture and their limitations of time don’t allow them to stick with the TV. They still rely on radio and although most of the big cities in Pakistan now have private FM radio stations, when it go to the rural areas, Pakistan radio is the only option, one would listen or otherwise the MW channels of BBC Urdu or other urdu services. Now given the case, Pakistan radio is state owned radio and it is always speaking the language of the government, Pakistani people don’t want to listen to them, primary reason is of course if Pakistan radio is praising Nawaz Sharif at one time, after couple of years it will cursing and accusing him for corruption because the government office has been taken by his rival party. The only choice is left to these Urdu services and BBC is the oldest, they have the nice fine tuned accents, not the Chinese accent of China radio or Persian accents of Iranian radio.

Launching a website in Urdu language was a bold step by BBC but same was the case with all other languages in which they broadcast in their World service. Although the website hardly meet with the websites of Express newspaper or Jang newspaper, I still visit this site only when I am not in mood of reading any depressing news, in BBC’s website, if you skip the main headline, the other news are mostly light weight and easy to sink in.

Now the BBC Urdu website has launched a mobile application for their readers on the move. I tried to download this application on my iPhone and it refused to download, because it doesn’t have the version for the iPhone. Looks like they have given a bit of research to the mobile handsets famous in Pakistan and made an application only for those. Below are the models on which this application work (I got this list because I later-on tried from my Nokia N73):

These all are Nokia models

  • 3250
  • E50
  • E60
  • E70
  • N71
  • N73
  • N75
  • N80
  • N91
  • N93

Here is a word of advise for the team at BBC Urdu that there are hundreds and thousands of Pakistani and Indian people who are abroad and would like to use this service. Skipping the popular phones like iPhone and Palm pre and black berry may not be a good idea. Phones which are listed above are very slow and I seldom use my N73 to go online while I am online most of the time from my iPhone.  Secondly, Nokia is not only popular brand in Pakistan, there are popular handsets as well for example of Sony Ericsson. Thirdly, if they don’t want to go in trouble of making an application for all handsets (maybe Urdu font is not supported in all of them), you may want to give a WAP site as well, which will be accessible from most of the handsets and most of the latest browsers like Safari and Opera Mini can also handle Urdu fonts.

If you are looking to download BBC Urdu service’s mobile news application and new your handset is listed above and you are browsing this article from your mobile phone as well (too many ands eh?) go to BBC Urdu website by clicking here.

Get Pakistan Breaking News app for Android now!

  1. Rizwan Gilani

    Dear BBc folks

    Is there any urdu radio news application form my iphone from ATT U.S.A


  2. @Rizwan Gilani
    if you find news application for iphone ATT USA please send me the info at syedav@hotmail.com

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