Written evidence from Nigel Margerison,
Assistant Editor, Bush Newsroom, BBC World Service |
This is an open letter to the head of the BBC,
Mark Thompson which we have sent to him today (Friday 11th
February) and we have also sent to Ariel, the staff magazine and
to you, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to indicate how angry
we are at the cuts to such an important British institution.
We are the six Assistant Editors in the Bush newsroom
with line management responsibilities for many of the journalists
who work there and are in charge of the bulletins which have a
listenership of tens of millions of people every week. We decide
the headlines, which stories should be written and the way they
should be told, liaising constantly with newsgathering and through
them the correspondents in the field. Between us we have over
a century of news experience, most of it served in Bush House.
We would like to express our dismay at the savage
cuts to the World Service and the closure or part closure of important
language services which appear to have been sacrificed for political
expediency and find it particularly ironic that you should call
the process of cuts in the BBC, "Delivering Quality First".
Cuts to the World Service correspondents' unit, to popular news
programmes such as Europe Today, to newsgathering and a reduction
by a quarter in the number of staff in World Service News and
Current Affairs is hardly delivering quality.
As we have seen in the press there is much fondness
and respect for World Service and the incalculable benefits our
voice gives to democracy and Britain's international standing
in the world. That support should have been mobilised and the
We intend to keep trying to put quality first and
fight for an institution which we have been proud to work for
and which has been so shabbily treated.
11 February 2011