The popular Tamil language service of the BBC is to be moved from London to India, where it will be relocated with the BBC Hindi service, according to new plans announced to cut costs until 2017.
A BBC World Service spokesperson told HT: “In India, BBC Tamil has a growing audience and we believe that relocating the team with BBC Hindi – which successfully relocated to Delhi and has achieved digital and TV growth – will benefit audiences”.
“BBC Tamil will be focusing on improving its offer for Tamil audiences in India, of course it will continue to serve the Tamil audience in Sri Lanka and the diaspora. As part of this move we propose to close Tamil posts in London, and open new ones in Delhi.”
BBC’s plans revealed this week to cut 415 jobs have been criticised by the National Union of Journalists, whose secretary-general, Michelle Stanistreet, said: "These cuts will further undermine the ability of journalists to deliver quality content. Now they plan to get rid of hundreds of staff - using licence fee payers' money to cover the redundancy pay-outs - and then immediately hire in a load more. NUJ members won't allow them to get away with it, and we will fight to ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies at the BBC."
The plans include an increase in the budget for the World Service, from £245 million this year to £250 million in 2016-17; an £8 million investment in original, distinctive journalism, chasing "big stories", and reintroducing a controller for the World Service in English.
BBC News currently employs around 8,400 people, including around 5,000 journalists, based in London, around the UK and overseas. A total of 195 new posts will be created to fulfil new plans for the digital age, which means a net reduction of 220 full-time jobs overall.