BBC proposals could threaten quality journalism

  • 26 May 2022

The union will now engage with the BBC and joint unions to limit the impact of changes on members.

The NUJ has warned that the package of cuts and restructuring outlined by the BBC risks undermining quality journalism and programming.

Paul Siegert, the NUJ’s national broadcasting organiser, said:

“Today’s announcement is a direct consequence of the government’s decision to refuse to fund the BBC adequately. The two year freeze on the licence fee has left the BBC with some tough decisions to make. It’s the second restructuring for BBC England in the past two years, and a clear sign that the first process was ill-thought through and poorly implemented. As a result, some NUJ members are facing the risk of redundancy for the second time in two years. The stress on people’s mental health and the anxiety this creates is unacceptable. We call on the BBC to work closely with us to make sure those individuals are redeployed as quickly as possible and that its overall plans for the corporation are as joined-up and thought through as possible.

“The proposed changes also leave the BBC with its very own post code lottery when it comes to regional news. The decision to axe news bulletins in Oxford and Cambridge is a backwards move for the BBC, at a time when the Director General is stressing the importance of the BBC getting out of London and into the regions.

“The proposal to merge the BBC News Channel and BBC World also risks losing much of what makes each a valuable and distinct part of the BBC’s domestic and international news coverage. Ensuring the World Service remains core to the BBC is vital, and the NUJ fully supports the call for the government to do more to ensure that BBC reporting across the globe can be properly sustained.

“Any transition to a digital first approach must have the BBC’s breadth and diversity of news and quality journalism at its heart.”

The consultation with the NUJ and joint unions over some of the BBC’s proposals will begin immediately, with others scheduled to commence in the summer and autumn. The NUJ and its reps will work to limit any negative impact on jobs and journalism, upholding its principle of opposing any compulsory redundancies and ensuring proper redeployment processes are in place.

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