BBC Monitoring suffers budget cut

BBC Monitoring faces 'grim' cuts
By James Robinson/Guardian
BBC Monitoring, the Home Office-funded body that translates media coverage from around the world, faces budget cuts and significant job losses as part of the coalition government's austerity measures.
Chris Westcott, director of BBC Monitoring,
told employees in a briefing on Monday that the "situation is grim" and the organisation is at a "tipping point". It could even be closed down, he warned. BBC Monitoring employs about 450 people in the UK and overseas. It tracks and translates press, TV and radio reports from 150 countries in more than 100 languages.
The organisation's role and funding is being examined by the government as part of it strategic defence and security review, the first for 12 years.
BBC Monitoring is part of the corporation's Global News division. It is financed by a £25m-a-year Cabinet Office grant, rather than the licence fee, although income is boosted by money paid by other governments and commercial organisations for the use of its services. The level of the grant is set for a five-year period but the current agreement is in its final year.
The service can trace its routes back to 1939, when a forerunner was founded to provide the UK government with information about wartime propaganda and press reports from overseas. It played a key role keeping UK governments informed during the Cold War and has provided coverage of dozens of key historical events, including the failed 1956 Hungarian uprising, the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979.
A BBC spokesman said: "Like all publicly funded bodies, BBC Monitoring is trying to evaluate the likely impact of the unprecedented public spending cuts on its operations and services. While we can approach the forthcoming Spending Review and the Strategic Defence Review with the vigour and confidence of knowing BBC Monitoring is highly valued by our stakeholders; we are also acutely aware that the prevailing economic climate will bring huge challenges and tough choices."

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