Implications of the BBC World Service Cuts

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 cuts fought.

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.

Nigel Margerison

Chris Moore

Stephen Jones

Andrew Maywood

Peter Miles

Andreas Gebauer

11 February 2011