IFJ Condemns BBC Plans for 2,900 Job Cuts As “Threat to Public Service Values”

The International Federation of Journalists has condemned BBC plans to cut almost 3,000 jobs warning that the cuts threaten “the fabric of public service values” and could have an impact on the quality of BBC programming.

“The BBC has a reputation at home and abroad for quality programming and public service values,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “These latest cuts will damage morale and could undermine the fabric of public service values in the UK and beyond.”

The IFJ and its regional organisation the European Federation of Journalists has pledged its full supports to the trade unions at the corporation, including its affiliate the National union of Journalists, which have warned of industrial action if there is any attempt to enforce compulsory redundancies among the planned 2,900 staff cuts announced yesterday.

Part of the IFJ’s concern is the international impact of changes at the BBC. Many broadcasters in Europe and beyond take their cue from policies and practices at the BBC, which is the world’s largest public broadcasting network. The Federation welcomed confirmation that although the BBC World Service, too, will be asked to make "significant savings" it was not subject to the 15% cuts being applied to other departments.

However, the IFJ attacked the BBC Director General Mark Thompson over his strategy for the future of the BBC, which is engaged in a high-profile debate over its Charter and its chief funding mechanism, the national license fee, which come up for renewal in 2007.

“It appears that the BBC is responding to pressure from hostile political interests and private sector predators who are passionately opposed to public service broadcasting,” said White. “But sacrificing jobs, selling off assets and privatising sections of the Corporation will not protect the BBC from attack by its enemies; the key battle is over the future of public broadcasting.”

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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries