Tuesday, 25 January 2011

NUJ predicts huge jobs cut at BBC World Service

The NUJ is predicting that it will be announced tomorrow that hundreds of jobs will be cut at BBC World Service.

NUJ reps at the service have written to the chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Richard Ottaway and the chair of the Culture Media and Sport Committee John Whittingdale, calling on them to review thoroughly the BBC’s plans for drastic cuts in the service.

The journalists say that BBC director of global news Peter Horrocks is due to announce on Wednesday his plans for the reorganisation of the World Service. “If the details we have obtained are accurate, we believe Mr Horrocks' plan will severely damage the national interest of the UK.” the journalists write.

The World Service journalists say they hope that the Commons committees will review these plans in the light of the recent licence fee and grant-in-aid agreements reached between the BBC and the government.

Their letter says: "We hope that you will take our concerns seriously.They arise from a love of what we do, and our desires to stop the destruction of the World Service and contribute to its future success."

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “These ferocious cuts to a valued national service are ultimately the responsibility of the Coalition government whose policies are destroying quality public services in the UK."

UPDATE: The BBC says the World Service is to close five of its language services. It is thought that about 650 jobs will be lost from a workforce of some 2,400. The Macedonian, Albanian and Serbian services will be axed, as will English for the Caribbean and Portuguese for Africa.

The BBC said: "This is part of its response to a cut to its Grant-in-Aid funding from the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The cut is part of a BBC World Service restructure in order to meet a 16% savings target announced in the Government's Spending Review of 20 October last year."

BBC global news director Peter Horrocks added: "These closures are not a reflection on the performance of individual services or programmes. They are all extremely important to their audiences and to the BBC.

"It is simply that there is a need to make savings due to the scale of the cuts to the World Service's Grant-in-Aid funding from the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office and we need to focus our efforts in the languages where there is the greatest need and where we have the strongest impact."

  • Members of the NUJ will attend a protest tomorrow (Wednesday January 26) at 1.00 pm at the Aldwych entrance to the World Service Bush House building in London.

1 comment:

TJ said...

It makes me both sad and angry to hear of the ferocious cuts to the BBC World Service. The service is without doubt one of our most important "exports" and one of which we should be immensely proud. It is so short-sighted to truncate a service upon which millions depend for a trustworthy source of news. It has taken so many decades to build the finest international radio station in the world, but how very quickly it can be dismantled; destroyed forever. I feel this is only a beginning. What will be left in, say, 20 years from now? It's a tragedy.