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BBC World Service cuts five language services

media BBC Headquarters, London Reuters/Max Nash

The BBC World Service announced Wednesday that it will cut five of its 32 language sevices, axing 650 jobs, in order to reach a 16 per cent government savings target.

The Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa and Serbian language services will be shut down entirely, along with an English for the Carribean regional service.

The cuts will also mean the end of radio broadcasting in Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese, Ukranian, Turkish, Azeri and Spanish for Cuba.

BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks said it was "a painful day for BBC World Service and the 18 million people around the world who rely on the BBC's global news services every week".

He added that efforts need to be focussed on the languages where there is "the greatest need" and where the corporation has the "strongest impact".

The closures come in response to a cut in the BBC's Grant-in-Aid funding from the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office, meaning the corporation itself will take over World Service funding.

The 650 jobs will be phased out over the next four years.

RFI cut six language services last year in a restructuring programme which caused a long series of strikes.

But its popular Vietnamese service is still broadcasting and present on the web.



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