BBC World Service journalists to be asked to relocate away from UK – Deadline

BBC World Service journalists to be asked to relocate away from UK – Deadline

UPDATE 03:46 amPT: The BBC has confirmed the relocation of some of its World Service journalists out of the UK as it prepares to introduce a digital-first model that will see a net loss of around 382 jobs.

The proposals, part of a 30 million pound ($32.7 million) World Service savings campaign, will see a further seven language services go digital-only, closing BBC Arabic radio and BBC Persian radio and the termination of some radio and television programmes. . More than half of the 41 language services will be digitized once the proposals are implemented.

London teams covering regions like Thailand, Korea and India will be asked to relocate (news Deadline broke today) and a new China unit will be created in London, “telling China’s global story to the world.”

An African content hub will also be forged, along with what the BBC described as a “Centralized Digital Startup and News Gathering Content Production Centre”.

A digital-first approach has been a key element of CEO Tim Davie’s approach to news across the board. The World Service plans will lead to a net total of around 382 job losses, the BBC said.

Liliane Landor, director of the BBC’s World Service, presented the plans to World Service staff at the last hour.

“There is a compelling case to expand our digital services across the World Service to better serve and connect with our audiences,” he added. “The way audiences access news and content is changing, and the challenge of reaching and engaging people around the world with quality, trusted journalism is growing.”

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The plans will now be presented to the unions, which are already battling with the BBC over the decision to merge national and international news channels.

Bectu broadcasting union director Philippa Childs said her organization “will seek to ensure the BBC redeploys staff where possible and mitigates the needs of any compulsory redundancies”.

Previous: EXCLUSIVE: Some BBC World Service crews will be asked to move out of the UK as they prepare for impending cuts, Deadline understands.

Staff at the BBC’s global news division are about to receive a series of pitches via Zoom from Liliane Landor, the BBC’s senior controller of international news services. It is understood that some directors were informed yesterday.

The proposals come after director-general Tim Davie said the World Service’s budget would be cut by £30m ($32.7m) by 2023/24 as part of a BBC digital first plan and , speaking earlier this week on RTS London, hinted that foreign-language news services could shrink if the government doesn’t help out with more funding.

Deadline understands that the proposals focus on a decentralization of World Service teams, which means that most Asian language services, including Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Korean, Chinese, and some South Asian services intended for India, will move from the New Broadcasting House in London. to the respective countries on which they report.

Landor will use Zoom to “share the results of our strategic review and discuss our proposals for change and the strategic rationale behind these proposals,” according to an email seen by Deadline.

Team members expressed concern with Deadline that the move will mean many will lose their jobs as they are unable to relocate for various reasons. One pointed to the difficulties of press freedom in certain nations, such as Thailand, where press freedom is restricted, or Vietnam, where journalists have to report from neighboring countries due to the ruling Communist Party.

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According to the BBC’s Annual Report, which described the World Service as “one of the UK’s crown jewels,” the partially government-funded division received £251 million ($271 million) last year, and there were 1,433 employees in World Service. Cluster.

The proposals will now go to unions and come at a difficult time for the entire BBC News division, which recently saw former NBC News International chairwoman Deborah Turness become chief executive.

Journalists are reportedly considering a strike over the planned merger of national and international news channels, which will see 70 jobs cut.

News has been one of the BBC’s hardest-hit divisions since the government imposed savings on the corporation several years ago, and hundreds have already lost their jobs.

The BBC declined to comment on the proposals, but the information is expected to go on record shortly.

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