He has clashed repeatedly with BBC management since last July, when he accused John Birt, the Director General, of running the corporation by fear. In a lecture at the Radio Academy in Birmingham, he said Mr Birt was turning the BBC into a secretive monolith with poor ratings and a demoralised staff: 'I don't think Mr Birt understands what the BBC was or what it should become.'
Tully's dissatisfaction with the management grew last year after he transferred from staff to a two-year contract. Protracted wrangling over the terms drove him to resign, he said yesterday.
In a statement from his New Delhi home, he said: 'Since I expressed my views . . . in July last year, I have sought to negotiate a position which would allow me to defend my stance in public, especially when it is questioned. The BBC has required that I do not speak on matters on which my stance is already known. That is not acceptable to me. I have therefore asked the corporation to accept my resignation as South Asia correspondent.'
The BBC said: 'Mark Tully has resigned from a freelance position. We are very disappointed.'
Tully on the BBC, page 6