London: Nearly 400 staff at BBC World Service will lose their jobs as part of a cost-cutting programme and move to digital platforms. The BBC said its international services needed to make savings of £28.5 million ($31 million) as part of wider reductions of £500 million. In July, it detailed plans to merge BBC World News television and its domestic UK equivalent into a single channel which is slated to launch in April next year.Also Read – Stop Carrying Advertisements of Online Betting Platforms: Centre Tells Media Houses | Check Advisory Here
BBC World Service currently operates in 40 languages around the world with a weekly audience of some 364 million people. The corporation said audience habits were changing and more people were accessing news online, which along with a freeze on BBC funding and increased operating costs meant a move to “digital-first” made financial sense. “Today’s proposals entail a net total of around 382 post closures,” it said in an online statement. Also Read – Akshata Murty to Pay UK Taxes on Income From Infosys After Controversy
EMPHASIS ON ‘DIGITAL FIRST’ IN RESTRUCTURING PLANS
Eleven language services — Azerbaijani, Brasil, Marathi, Mundo, Punjabi, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese — are already digital only. Under the restructuring plans they will be joined by seven more: Chinese, Gujarati, Igbo, Indonesian, Pidgin, Urdu and Yoruba. Radio services in Arabic, Persian, Kyrgyz, Hindi, Bengali, Chinese, Indonesian, Tamil and Urdu will stop, if the proposals are approved by staff and unions. No language services will close, the broadcaster insisted, although some production will move out of London. The Thai service will move to Bangkok, the Korean service to Seoul and the Bangla service to Dhaka. Also Read – Michael Vaughan Disappointed as BBC Removes Former England Captain From The Ashes Coverage
The “Focus on Africa” television bulletin will be broadcast from Nairobi, it added. BBC World Service director Liliane Landor said there was a “compelling case” for expanding digital services, as audiences had more than doubled since 2018.”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,” she added.
BBC World Service is funded out of the UK licence fee — currently £159 for a colour TV and payable by every household with a television set. The BBC has faced increasing allegations of political bias.
The government announced a freeze on the licence fee earlier this year, in what was seen as a brazen attack on a cherished British institution. But ministers claimed the funding model needed to be revised because of technological changes, including the uptake of streaming services. Rival commercial broadcasters have long complained that the guaranteed funding is unfair.
(This is an AFP copy, india.com has only changed the headline)