Tully quits BBC

MARK TULLY, the BBC's award-winning India correspondent and outspoken critic of the corporation, resigned last night saying he could not allow himself to be gagged by BBC managers, writes Peter Victor. Tully, 58, said: 'I am very proud to have worked with the BBC for 30 years. I had hoped to continue to work for the corporation but that is no longer possible.'

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