Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Self-harm - There should be a BBC website about that

You may have read about it in the press, seen it on TV or heard it on the radio - the BBC is axing two digital radio services, halving the size of its website and threatening hundreds of jobs. It's another bout of self-harm in anticipation of enforced spending cuts by a future government at the behest of their backers - commercial media organisations.

It's like the perfect storm. If the BBC does too much it needs to be cut down to size, if it does too little it is poor value for money and the licence fee comes under threat.

The axing of 6Music and the Asian Network as well as web cuts and the possible sale of parts of BBC Worldwide are political decisions designed to appease the BBC's critics. And those critics aren't satisfied with just these sacrificial lambs, many of them want the whole flock.

I've spent almost the past 48 hours in TV studios, radio studios or giving quotes to print and web journalists and liaising with the various protest groups that have sprung up - from this petition to a number of facebook groups. Rallies, protests and more activity is planned throughout the consultation period which will run for the next 3 months.

Today we have our first face to face meeting with BBC Director General Mark Thompson and will set out our opposition to the cuts as well as our commitment to ballot for action in the event of any compulsory redundancies affecting our members.

I have also manage to fit in meeting with union reps at NUJ head office to discuss the staff pension scheme, write a column for The Journalist, attend the FCO Freedom of Expression Panel where I was able to raise issues about journalists facing threats in Colombia, Zimbabwe and Somalia and I have tried to keep up with emails - but failed. Sorry if I haven't answered yours!

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