World Service audience grows

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The Independent Online
The global audience for the BBC World Service has grown to 143 million listeners each week, according to figures released today. It marks an increase of 3 million on last year's audience figure.

The number of listeners who tune in to local re-broadcasts on FM or medium wave, rather than the traditional short wave broadcasts, has increased from 20 million to 26 million. The main increases in audiences came from re-broadcasts in Poland, and in French for Africa.

New research in 10 Chinese cities, Bangladesh, the Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, found new World Service listeners, but difficult areas such as Burma, Cuba and Iran and vast areas of China remain unsurveyed.

The BBC World Service's Albanian broadcasts on short wave were recently increased in the light of the political crisis and the closure of the BBC World Service FM transmitter in that country.