Television

BBC sacks 60 people in its news department

MUMBAI:In a major cost cutting drive aimed at reducing redundancies, BBC bosses are axing 60 jobs in the news operation. More jobs may be lost when BBC's Ceefax and online news services merge at the beginning of next year. In addition a recruitment freeze has been imposed across the entire BBC news department.

The redundancies come as the BBC director general, Greg Dyke, seeks to save ?160m across the entire corporation, states a BBC report.

"Spiralling costs and changes in programme requirements and aspirations are the main causes of the unexpected redundancies" BBC , newsgathering chief Adrian van Klaveren is quoted as having said in the report. Twenty-six jobs will go within the BBC's newsgathering department, where significant changes will be made to balance the budget and meet changing editorial requirements, the report adds.

The budget shortfall in the news division is estimated to be about ?15m. However the deficit is in addition to last year's overspend in the news budget following September 11, the war on terrorism and the Bali bombing.

"We understand people are very anxious to know the outcome and we will do everything we can to move this forward as quickly as possible in order to allay the uncertainties which everyone will be feeling," commented Klaveren.

Interestingly, the report further reveals that BBC director of news, Richard Sambrook, had written to his department's 3,300 staff inviting them to consider voluntary redundancy at the end of last year.

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