BBC World Service to drop five languages

Thursday, January 27, 2011

File photo of Bush House, the World Service headquarters.

According to the BBC News website, five languages are to be cut from the BBC World Service's coverage. Albanian, Macedonian, and Serbian are no longer going to be used on the global radio station, and Portuguese will no longer be used in African regional programmes, nor English in the Caribbean. Seven undisclosed languages are also going to be scaled back. The cuts mean that approximately 650 jobs will be lost in order to save around £46m. The cuts were officially announced at a staff briefing on Thursday.

The BBC's director of global news, Peter Horrocks, said that the cuts were "not a reflection on the performance of individual services or programmes", and were cut due to a "need to make savings", after the Government's grant-in-aid funding was cut. The BBC took over funding the World Service in October 2010, previously funded by the Foreign Office. The move comes just days after announcements that the funding for the BBC website is to be slashed by £34m as part of 25% cuts across the spectrum of services offered by the taxpayer-funded broadcaster.

The National Union of Journalists protested the "drastic cuts" outside the World Service headquarters today, stating that the loss of the language editions "severely damage the national interest of the UK".