London: The BBC World is to axe up to 650 jobs, after it announced the closure of its five international services -- a move intended to save the corporation more than 46 million pounds a year.
The five services to be axed are Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa, and Serbian, as well as the English for the Caribbean regional service, a statement from the BBC World said on Tuesday.
BBC Global News director Peter Horrocks said that the closures weren’t a reflection on the performance of individual services, but were needed because of the scale of the cuts to its grant from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
“It is simply that there is a need to make savings due to the scale of the cuts to the BBC World Service’s Grant-in- Aid funding from the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office. We need to focus our efforts in the languages where there’s the greatest need and where we’ve the strongest impact,” he said.
Horrocks is expected to announce that about 650 jobs will be lost over three years -- one quarter of World Service staff of 2,000, the BBC reported.
The announcement came just days after the corporation announced 360 online job losses.
However, to protest the move, the National Union of Journalists has written to the chairman of House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee Richard Ottaway and the chairman of Culture, Media and Sport Committee John Whittingdale, calling on them to review the BBC’s plans for “drastic cuts”.
The BBC World Service, which started broadcasting in 1932, currently costs 272 million pounds a year, and has an audience of 241 million worldwide across radio, television and online.