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BBC to cut hundreds of World Service jobs

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Sep 30, 2022 - 03:12 AM

LONDON (AA) – The BBC announced Thursday that it would cut 382 jobs as part of wider staff reductions to BBC World Service.

“High inflation, soaring costs, and a cash-flat licence fee settlement have led to tough choices across the BBC, and the BBC’s international services need to make a saving of £28.5m ($32.4m) as part of the wider £500m of annual savings and reinvestment to make the BBC digital-led,” the company said in a statement.

Broadcast services in Chinese and Urdu will see cuts and language-specific services in Gujarati, Igbo, Indonesian, Pidgin and Yoruba will be moved to an online-only format.

Cheaper online content will replace more expensive radio and television services in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Azerbaijani, Vietnamese, Russian, Thai and others.

The BBC will also stop radio services entirely in Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Chinese, Kyrgyz and Urdu, among other languages.

World Service English will continue to operate 24-hour broadcast radio globally.

Some services will be relocated from London, with the Thai service going to Bangkok, Korean to Seoul and Bangla to Dhaka.

“There is a compelling case for expanding our digital services across the World Service in order to better serve and connect with our audiences,” said BBC World Service Director Liliane Lando. “The way audiences are accessing news and content is changing and the challenge of reaching and engaging people around the world with quality, trusted journalism is growing.”

Philippa Childs of the Bectu broadcasting union said while the union recognized that the BBC must adapt to meet the challenges of a changing media landscape, “once again it is workers who are hit by the government’s poorly-judged political decisions – its freezing of the license fee and the resulting funding challenges has necessitated these proposals.”

Childs noted the potential ramifications for the BBC’s reputation globally.

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