The BBC World Service has confirmed the closure of 5 of its language services: Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa and Serbian and English for the Caribbean regional service in order to respect the BBC’s budget reviewed on the 20th October of last year. The BBC insists that the closure of the services “are not a reflection on the performance of individual services or programmes,” but a matter of sticking to the budget.
When we heard the news at ERA ONLUS, we tried to contact the BBC obtain more specific information. Difficult to get an answer when one’s questions are constantly forwarded elsewhere.
Finally, on April 18, 2011, the BBC sent a 2-page attachment confirming yhat, yes, the 5 services will be closed, followed by 3 good reasons why the BBC is not at liberty to give out further information. First of all, the BBC occupies itself only with the statistics of the United Kingdom, therefore it states it does not have access to foreign programs as those are bought and distributed by other distributors.
Secondly, the BBC reminded that is is protected by the Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and has the right to freedom of expression, the right to broadcast what the British audience desires and has the right to withdraw any program from the BBC at any time.
Thirdly and finally, the BBC explained that even if it had access to these statistics it was not at the liberty to release them to the public as it would mean a breach of contract between the BBC and the distributors outside of UK territory.
Based on the statistics published in the Irish Times, Januray 20 2011, it can be seen that the aim is to reduce the annual expenses of the BBC World Service by 16%, and not to go over £46 million a year, approximately 51.7 million Euros, therefore putting 27% of the workforce at risk. In other words, 650 people may lose their job within this year.
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