BBC executive admits that consequences of latest budget and staff cuts 'will be felt by audiences'

The £48 million savings programme at BBC News will see 415 full-time posts cut

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The Independent Culture

The high-profile Panorama reporter John Sweeney is among the casualties in a £48m savings programme at BBC News that will see 415 full-time posts cut.

James Harding, the BBC’s director of news, admitted in an announcement to staff that audiences would notice the cuts because they are so severe.

“It will have an impact, directly and indirectly, on a great many people inside the organisation,” he said.

“We are going to go through a very testing time of uncertainty and change. Its consequences will be felt by audiences, too.”

Mr Sweeney, best known for his presentation of Panorama documentaries on the Church of Scientology and North Korea – where he controversially went undercover on a student trip – is one of the BBC’s best-known investigative journalists.

“I think management wants control,” said Mr Sweeney. “The problem is that people might like to watch someone who is not necessarily going to toe the establishment line.

"I think they’re afraid of trouble and I’m trouble. My nickname for the past couple of months has been ‘Dead Man Walking’. Funny, but also prophetic.”