The BBC has revealed wide-ranging savings proposals across its World Service that will result in the closure of 382 positions and the relocation of journalists from London to Asia and Africa.
The move is part of a push towards digital and a wider savings plan. Under the proposals, some half of the BBC’s 41 language services will be digital only. The relocation proposals include the Thai service moving from London to Bangkok, the Korean service to Seoul, the Bangla service to Dhaka and the “Focus On Africa” TV bulletin to broadcast from Nairobi.
“Changing audience needs around the world – with more people accessing news digitally – go alongside a challenging financial climate. 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 £28.5 million [$30.7 million], as part of the wider £500 million of annual savings and reinvestment to make the BBC digital-led,” the BBC said in a statement.
Additions include creating a new China Global Unit based in London to “tell the global story of China to the world” and creating an Africa content hub for digital first content for its 12 African language services, digital, TV and radio, plus coverage of the continent for the rest of the BBC.
Director of BBC World Service, Liliane Landor said: “The role of the BBC has never been more crucial worldwide. The BBC is trusted by hundreds of millions of people for fair and impartial news, especially in countries where this is in short supply. We help people in times of crisis. We will continue to bring the best journalism to audiences in English and more than 40 languages, as well as increasing the impact and influence of our journalism by making our stories go further.
“There is a compelling case for expanding our digital services across the World Service in order to better serve and connect with our audiences. 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.”
The proposals will now go through a consultation process with BBC staff and trade unions.