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Comparative Analysis of BBC Arabic and Persian Service Users

This project reports research on two BBC World Service websites; BBC Persian Online and BBC Arabic Online. It examines where users of the two sites are located, their demographic characteristics and their views of the two sites. A large proportion of the World Service's online audience resides outside the geographical target area of the given language services. Thus with increasingly geographically dispersed users, the World Service is no longer simply talking 'from nation to nation'. It is playing a role in the process of forming new transnational communities, which therefore has consequences for national identifications and public diplomacy. The data is contextualised by debates about diaspora communities, the UK government's Foreign & Commonwealth Office's (FCO) strategy of 'digital diplomacy', and the World Service's aim of fostering a 'global conversation'.

Project contact

Matilda Andersson, The Open University, m.andersson@open.ac.uk

Project members

Matilda Andersson is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Sociology at the Open University, UK. She is a former member of staff at the BBC World Service where she worked as a Senior Research Analyst specialising in users/uses of digital media. Her main academic interest lies in new audience configurations, digital diasporas, transnational social networking, cultural and public diplomacy.

Cross theme reference: 
Digital Diasporas