BBC College of Journalism Re-Launches Language Websites

  • Academy’s College of Journalism is re-launching its Arabic, Persian and Russian language sites with a wide range of new material.
  • This is the first phase of a programme that will eventually see the overhaul of all the College’s 30 language microsites.

The sites provide an invaluable guide to the BBC’s editorial standards and core values. They are also a vitally important language tool, ensuring that those standards, particularly those of impartiality, are maintained through the translation process. The updated material also focuses on working with social media, for example on how to verify stories and sources, and also the responsibilities that presenters and reporters themselves face when using social media.

The sites are available for free via the College of Journalism website,, and can be accessed via the home pages of the BBC’s Arabic, Persian and Russian services. Together, the language microsites achieve more than 80,000 page impressions a month.

The College’s Arabic website is publishing new films and guides to journalistic skills and the particular requirements of the Arabic language.

Against the background of challenging and fast-moving events in the Middle East and North Africa, the site aims to help BBC reporting maintain its traditional high standards of impartiality and accuracy.

BBC Arabic Service experts discuss how to identify and investigate a story, and talk about avoiding legal difficulties and the need to authenticate material before using it, in order to avoid hoaxers. Naglaa El-Emary, Editor, BBC Arabic, says “the wave of revolutions spreading across the region means there is an unparalleled opportunity for sources and stories that have never been heard before. BBC Arabic makes its values and its expertise in the genre available to journalists.”

This style guide is published for the first time on the College Arabic site.

The College’s Persian website is publishing new content and guidelines for BBC journalists on how to use social media. Social media now plays a huge role in all BBC journalistic activity the world. It is of particular importance in Iran, where there are many restrictions on traditional sources of information and means of reporting the news.

The Persian College of Journalism website is publishing key learning points to develop television, radio and online skills. The language category of this site also has a rich linguistic guide to the Persian language. This includes Persian grammar, the creation of new words and the art of translation.

Also on the site, Liliane Landor, Controller Languages at BBC Global News, explains the rules governing BBC journalists’ behaviour when using sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Sina Motalebi, Head of Persian TV Output, says: “Social media and citizen journalism provide our main access to audiences in Iran. This means that our journalists need to exercise an even higher level of care in their interaction with social media to preserve BBC reputation, values and standards and exercise fairness towards our contributors and duty of care for their safety.”

The BBC Russian website was first published in 2008 alongside the Arabic and Persian sites. New features of the site are items on journalistic ethics as well as key advice on the impartial use of the Russian language.

Sarah Gibson, Editor of BBC Russian, says: “The College material really enhances the Russian service’s offer to its audience. It is available through and its social networks, and through the service’s work directly with journalism students.

“There is a great deal of interest in Russia in how the BBC works, its editorial guidelines and standards, and its approach to the multimedia world. Attitudes in Russia to the BBC can vary, but its journalism is highly regarded by many. Being able to make this material accessible to the journalists of today and tomorrow is therefore a great asset to the site and a great demonstration of the BBC’s commitment to journalistic standards.”

Taken from NewsOnNews: 03.07.11