BBC World Services faces steep cuts

Foreign-language and 25% staff reductions coming

The BBC World Service is poised to announce the loss of up to 650 jobs, more that 25% of its work force of 2,000.

The overhaul, due to be announced today by World Service director Peter Horrocks, will include the closure of foreign-language services as the pubcaster seeks savings of £50 million ($79 million) at the World Service.

The World Service is facing a 16% budget trim between now and 2014, imposed as part of government-instigated spending cuts.

Five foreign-language services are expected to close, with other services reduced.

The cuts follow Monday’s announcement of 360 job losses at BBC Online.

BBC director-general Mark Thompson is seeking overall cuts of 20% following the freeze on the annual license fee paid by all homes with a TV in October.

The settlement also gave the pubcaster responsibility for running the World Service, previously funded by the British Foreign Office.

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