RadioandMusic
| 21 Nov 2019
First BBC 'newsbot' brings more Uzbek content to Telegram

MUMBAI: In an innovative approach to reaching audiences in Uzbekistan, BBC Uzbek has activated an automated account – bot – on one of its messaging apps. The BBC Uzbek 'newsbot' – the BBC's first – is now available on Telegram. The use of the 'newsbot' on the free cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app means that Uzbek-speaking users now have better access to content from bbcuzbek.com which is blocked by Uzbekistan's authorities.

The BBC ‘newsbot’ on Telegram will bring subscribers daily news updates from bbcuzbek.com. It also will allow them to request more content from the website.

Mobile Editor, BBC World Service, Trushar Barot, said: “This is the first time the BBC has experimented with a ‘newsbot’, following on from our industry-leading work on chat apps which began in 2014. Chatbots are a fast-developing technology inside social and messaging platforms, and we know they provide us with new opportunities to reach global audiences with our news, while giving them more power to get the content they most want.”

The BBC Uzbek digital content is widely shared by users in Uzbekistan, Central Asia, Russia and Afghanistan. The service’s Facebook and Odnoklassniki (Russian social network) pages have a combined 430,000 followers, while its YouTube channel – with around 10,000 subscribers – has had almost eight million views since its launch.

BBC Central Asian Editor Hamid Ismailov added: “While our stories are already widely shared on Telegram and WhatsApp, we hope with the launch of this ‘newsbot’ on Telegram, the availability of our news content in a tightly controlled media environment of Uzbekistan – as indeed anywhere in Central Asia and elsewhere - will further expand. It also helps to showcase our content, offering a better user experience.”

To subscribe to the BBC Uzbek channel and bot on Telegram, go to @bbcuzbek and @BBCUzbekBot within the app on devices supporting Telegram.