Entertainment & Arts

BBC World Service to lose 73 jobs

BBC World Service logo
Image caption Compulsory redundancies at the World Service led to strike action by staff in 2011

The BBC World Service is to lose a further 73 jobs as part of the latest round of cutbacks to save £42m by 2013.

25 jobs will go on the English-language service with news coverage reduced from 18 hours to 14 each weekday.

Arts show The Strand will be axed from April next year, while World Briefing will be replaced by a new programme, The Newsroom.

The BBC said audiences would continue to "receive the best programming" with "fewer regional variations".

The BBC World Service has already made £30m in savings following its reduction in funding by the government in 2010. From 2014 the World Service will be funded from the licence fee, with up to 650 jobs to go over three years.

The number of documentaries will be reduced from four weekly strands to three, with Your World axed. However, the BBC said no jobs would be lost as a result of this change.

A total of 44 jobs will be closed in foreign-language services including BBC Afghan, BBC Burmese, BBC Bengali and in Africa, while posts currently vacant in other foreign services will no longer be filled.

Efficient programming

The number of specialist announcers on the World Service English language service will shrink and a new management team will work across distribution, channel management and commissioning.

The BBC said a "significant saving" in changes to arts scheduling will ensure that arts coverage "maintains prominence and relevance on the World Service".

An extended Outlook will now cover arts and music, with daily 10 minute section looking at the people behind the world of music, entertainment, film and the performance arts.

Director of BBC Global News, Peter Horrocks said: "By making these changes, we are achieving the savings required whilst crucially, ensuring our audiences continue to receive the best programming.

"As we prepare to move to licence fee funding, we will be able to demonstrate that the World Service remains strong despite the funding cuts of recent years, is more efficient than ever, and remains a vital force in today's complex media world."

The National Union of Journalists said the cuts "fly in the face" of the BBC's commitment "to sustaining quality programming".

"Slashing journalistic jobs and cutting programmes is a terrible assault on a much-loved institution that provides a lifeline to listeners around the world," said Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary.

"Instead of pressing on with these cuts, [BBC Director General] George Entwistle should be taking the opportunity to rethink the approach of his predecessor, and seize the chance to push for a renegotiation of the licence fee settlement.

"It's time for a fresh start and a real commitment to quality programming and journalism."

The latest job cuts and schedule changes were announced on Thursday to the 1,200 staff who work at the World Service.

The BBC said the original estimate was for more than 100 job losses.

Mr Horrocks said the broadcaster would consult the unions and staff to "look for ways to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies where possible".

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