World Have Your Say avoids the axe

Ros Atkins interviews David Cameron Prime Minister David Cameron appeared on World Have Your Say last year

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The World Have Your Say programme will not be dropped from BBC World Service, following feedback from audience and staff.

As part of cutbacks announced in July, it was revealed that WHYS would end next spring.

However Peter Horrocks, director of the World Service Group, tweeted on Wednesday: "World Have Your Say on @bbcworldservice will not close. I had a rethink, after hearing concerns of listeners."

The programme, which invites its global audience to comment on the news agenda, currently airs every weekday on World Service radio, and every Friday on BBC World News TV.

But from next April, the radio version will be cut back from five editions per week, to two, which will air on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

In an email to staff, Horrocks added there would be "special programmes when world events demand".

He wrote he had "long been an admirer" of the discussion programme, which he described as "a pioneer in transforming the relationship with our audience".

Audience support

The programme's closure was proposed as part of BBC plans to make £18m savings at the World Service during the next three years, while investing £13m in digital journalism and more language TV services.

In April, funding for the World Service switched from the Foreign Office to the BBC licence fee, following the corporation's settlement with the government in 2010.

The BBC has already confirmed the annual budget for the World Service will increase from £245m this year to £250m in 2016/17.

Ros Atkins and German production team Presenter Ros Atkins (centre) with the production team from a Berlin broadcast last year

On Wednesday, the WHYS team commented on Facebook that they were "very, very happy" to remain on air, adding that audience feedback "massively helped".

The programme's reprieve received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from listeners around the world.

Ben Sutherland, WHYS deputy editor, told Ariel: "We decided after the programme was initially decommissioned that we had two choices - we could either miserably wait for the end while the programme withered away, or we could go all out and make the best shows we could.

"The whole team went for the second option and on the basis of some of those recent programmes - not least an amazing effort in Ferguson, a story that we massively led on - we've had this reprieve."

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