BBC criticized for pre-emptive cutbacks

Stephen Beard Mar 3, 2010
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BBC criticized for pre-emptive cutbacks

Stephen Beard Mar 3, 2010
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: After years of expansion, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, says it’s going to cut back some of its services. The taxpayer-funded broadcaster has been accused of caving in to commercial rivals. From London, here’s Marketplace’s Stephen Beard.


Stephen Beard: The BBC runs its TV, radio and online empire on taxpayers’ cash — a $4.5 billion a year subsidy. That’s unfair, say commercial competitors like Rupert Murdoch. Now there’s a general election in the offing. A conservative government with less enthusiasm for the public sector could come to power.

The BBC’s decided to take pre-emptive action. It plans to shrink a little — to scrap two radio stations and cut funding for its Web site by a quarter.

Jeremy Dear is with the National Union of Journalists. He says the BBC is appeasing its commercially-motivated rivals:

Jeremy Dear: I think a lot of BBC staff are slightly sick of the BBC seeming to cave in every time someone criticizes or attacks them. Inevitably, if they do that they’re going to end up smaller and more marginalized.

He says a national treasure is in jeopardy. And there could be strike action against the cuts.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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