85 years after first transmission, BBC Arabic Radio taken off airtext_fields
London: “Tears in my eyes as I listen to the last broadcast by BBC Arabic, closing down after 85 years. It meant so much to so many people here over the decades,” tweeted British journalist Jim Muir, Middle East correspondent for the BBC News, “Now the airwaves are dead. End of an era.”
On Friday, BBC's Arabic radio service formally ceased operations after decades of operation, leaving behind a legacy that many consider to be everlasting.
The station debuted in early 1938 as the first radio broadcast in a language other than English for the BBC Empire Service.
Many media professionals and public personalities shared their sorrow and happy memories of the BBC Arabic radio station on Twitter. Others recalled their time working at the studios, while some said the incident indicated a fall in the United Kingdom's soft power.
“It's far beyond sad and painful to see BBC Arabic radio shutting down today,” wrote Egypt-based BBC Arabic correspondent Sally Nabil on Twitter.
“It's incredibly difficult to describe how we feel!” She added.
Amal Mudallali, former permanent representative of Lebanon to the UN, said: “As someone who worked for BBC Arabic, I do not understand the decision.
“It is the only thing people know and remember about Britania, as we call it, in the region for generations.”
Many people appear to have shed tears after Mahmoud Almossallami's parting words and signature declaration, "Huna London" (This is London), on BBC Arabic radio, Arab News reported.
Almousallami’s daughter, Osha, wrote: “I grew up listening to my dad presenting on BBC Arabic, and now here he is, presenting the final hour of BBC Arabic before it's closed and taken off the air.
“It really is the end of an era.”
Elly Nott, the founder of the David Nott Foundation, praised BBC Arabic radio in her essay "Huna London no more" for aiding her in language learning.
As the Arabic news network shut down, BBC News Lead Technical Operator Jack Mooney posted a video of the final seconds, and sound producer Tome Roles wrote, “I’ll always treasure the magic of sitting in a tiny studio at 3 am in London, picturing the sun rising thousands of miles away, and wondering about the lives of those tuning in.”
“It’s a painful moment,” wrote photographer Ali Al-Baroodi.
“BBC Arabic was one of few windows to the world in the time of the economic blockade (in the) 1990s (and) ISIS occupation,” he added, “Iraq was under (a) huge blackout. My father used to stock batteries for his radio in prep for the tough times.”
The final two minutes of the Arabic radio station's final transmission were shared by BBC reporter Emir Nader, who wrote, “Today is a tragic day for Arab media… One of many huge losses following cuts in BBC World Service's budget.”