The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today expressed its strong support to striking journalists at the BBC World Service who are protesting at the Corporation's plans to outsource its South Asian programmes to companies in India and Pakistan.
The 24-hour strike, which is part of the on-going campaign "Save the BBC World Service" by South Asian journalists, is also supported by the National Union of Journalists in England and Ireland (NUJ) and the Broadcast Entertainment Cinema and Theatre Union (BETCU) which have campaigned over the last 15 months against this restructuring programme.
"The IFJ fully supports these journalists who are not only defending their jobs but the integrity, quality and independence of the BBC World Service," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "At a time when media face unprecedented crisis, pushing staff to give up full time jobs and being offered a choice between unemployment or lower terms jobs in unstable locations is nothing short of a scandal."
According to journalists' unions, the BBC management plans to off-shore its Hindu programmes and half of its Urdu and Nepali output away from London to production companies based in India and Pakistan. The South Asian journalists and their unions fear that the plan would cost 34 editorial jobs in Hindi, Urdu and Nepali sections and lead to the loss of editorial independence in unstable countries.
"There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the BBC management's off-shoring plans will put at risk seventy years of first-class journalism and expose their journalists to political and commercial pressures beyond their control," added Boumelha. "IFJ affiliates have added their voices to the protests over the plans and have given full support to the NUJ's campaign to defeat the BBC's plans."