London – The BBC says it plans to cut 650 jobs in its World Service as part of efforts to slash costs annually by £46 million (R516 million) by 2014.
The corporation said it planned to close five foreign language services and scale back radio programming in seven languages.
The figures announced yesterday came after drastic grant cuts from the UK Foreign Office, which funds the state-sponsored broadcaster.
The BBC said the job losses were in preparation for the end of Foreign Office funding in April 2014.
The BBC World Service, which started airing in 1932, costs £272 million a year and boasts an audience of 241 million people worldwide across radio, television and online platforms.