Letter: Cuts at BBC World

Sir: The decision by senior management in the BBC to axe the major current affairs and analysis programmes from BBC World Television means the loss of 50 journalistic and technical posts and also threatens the BBC's standing in the world, at the very moment when this channel is enjoying unprecedented success in its coverage of international news.

In this year's mission statement, our senior management said the BBC's task was "to be the world's most creative and trusted broadcaster". Yet they have pulled the rug from under BBC World News by ending its flagship programmes The World Today and Europe Direct on which much of its global renown is based.

Despite the economic constraints which have squeezed it at every turn, BBC World has grown in standing and steadily built up its audiences. It is now seen in 150 million homes worldwide. It has made huge inroads even into the difficult North American market: BBC World reaches more than half all homes in the United States.

The channel received widespread acclaim during the war in Kosovo from such diverse sources as the Serbian presidency and a spokesman in the White House. It is currently leading the pack in its coverage of East Timor.

That critical acclaim is reflected in advertising: in June alone BBC World sold more advertising than in the whole of last year. The figures for September and October promise to be even better.

Cuts on this scale will make it impossible to maintain the high standards of news and in-depth analysis which have become the hallmark of BBC World. The BBC and the Government must address the issue of providing secure long-term funding to safeguard what has become a national and global asset.

JOHN SIMPSON

KATE ADIE

BEN BROWN

GAVIN ESLER

MATT FREI

DAVID LOYN

RAGEH OMAAR

JANE STANDLEY

and 28 others

BBC Television Centre

London W12

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