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BBC To Slash Another 73 Posts

Public broadcaster also cuts, alters format of English-language programming

BBC World services announced Oct. 18 that it will eliminate 73 more positions despite the measures it has already taken to meet the U.K. government’s goal of a reduction of 42 million in expenses, according to The Guardian.

The broadcaster will phase out the jobs as it cuts more English-language shows and reduces news coverage from 18 hours a day to 14, changing its format to a new program called “The Newsroom,” which replaces “The Strand” and “World Briefing.” The BBC will also reduce its documentary offerings. BBC arts coverage will now come from “Outlook” and “The Slot.”

Out of the 73 total post closures, 44 will come from foreign-language services at BBC Afghan, BBC Burmese, BBC Bengali and African posts, the Guardian says. The World Service also says that it originally predicted that it would need to eliminate 100 positions out of 1,250 that currently are filled by World Services employees.

These programming cuts and job losses are raising concerning about the future of the public broadcaster, and NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet was quoted as saying, “These job cuts fly in the face of the new director general’s commitment to sustaining quality programming at the BBC. The World Service is prized around the world — slashing journalistic jobs and cutting programs is a terrible assault on a much-loved institution that provides a lifeline to listeners around the world.”

These reductions, although significant, are far from the first that the BBC has made in recent years. In 2011, the broadcast organization stopped radio programming in seven languages and reduced its short and medium wave distribution of its remaining radio services, according to a 2011 press release found on the organization’s website. The services changes are a reaction to cuts in its Grant-to-Aid funding from the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which dictate that the BBC see a 20 percent savings through 2013.