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BBC announces major World Service cutbacks

The BBC has announced deep cuts to its World Service output that will result in the loss of hundreds of jobs.

The corporation will stop producing radio output in 10 languages, including Chinese, Hindi and Arabic. BBC Persian will end its audio broadcasts aimed at Iran.

The BBC says it has been forced to act by the government’s ongoing licence fee freeze, the Guardian reports.

Some 382 jobs will be lost because of the cuts, which the BBC said were required to make £28.5 million ($31 million) of annual savings.

Some foreign-language World Service teams based in London will move to the countries they serve, such as Thai services shifting to Bangkok, the Korean service to Seoul and the Bangla service to Dhaka.

Several staff on those services said they expect to take redundancy rather than relocate, resulting in a loss of institutional knowledge.

Television bulletins in Gujarati, Somali and Urdu will also stop, with Igbo, Indonesian and Yoruba language services going online-only.

There will also be a change in focus of the World Service’s English-language radio output, with more time dedicated to live news and sports programming at the expense of standalone programmes.

A BBC spokesperson said no country would lose its World Service content altogether, with digital operations continuing in all languages.