Papers react to BBC cuts

Image copyright bbc
Image caption Roughly 2000 jobs will be lost over five years

This round-up of Friday's main media stories reports on reaction to the BBC cuts announcement.

The Guardian says BBC News will bear the brunt of the 2000 job losses announced yesterday, with 800 positions lost, "largely from merging the broadcaster's publicly funded news operation with the World Service, and not transmitting programmes such as Newsnight and Radio 4's PM live from party conferences."

BBC News spells out the details in a graphic, showing the "BBC cuts at a glance".

The BBC in Birmingham is set to lose around a quarter of its staff as part of proposals to save hundreds of millions of pounds a year, reports the Birmingham Mail. "The Factual Unit - which makes programmes such as Gardeners' World and the Hairy Bikers - will move to Bristol with jobs also going from radio, current affairs and news operations."

The Liverpool Echo reflects the cuts on a local scale. It says staff at Radio Merseyside were "angry and stunned" about cuts to the station. The paper adds 10 out of 46 staff at the station are being made redundant."

In my analysis of the BBC cuts, I quote the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, who thinks strike action is inevitable. "But with no TV channel or radio station facing closure (like BBC 6 Music and the Asian Network, both reprieved after public protests), and local radio and BBC Four hit less hard than at one time feared, few expect licence-fee payers to be marching on Broadcasting House."

The hard-won freedom of Britain's press is regarded as "a model" by much of the democratic world and must be protected, the Leveson Inquiry into media standards and ethics was told yesterday.

The Daily Telegraph quotes Alan Rusbridger, the editor-in-chief of The Guardian, who said that for the past 400 years a free press had been the enemy of totalitarian governments and remained "as crucial to democracy as a clean water supply or a fire service".

Roy Greenslade says in the Guardian the Leveson seminar's most explosive monologue came from the former Daily Star journalist Richard Peppiatt. He "had a diatribe about a newsroom culture in which journalists are compelled to write to an agenda, saying reporters were expected by news editors 'to stand up fantastical hunches and ill-informed assertions'. Reporters were 'foot soldiers', working to the demands of bullying and aggressive executives."

Greenslade says "Editors at the seminar looked shocked at the very notion. The Sun's associate editor, Trevor Kavanagh, called it a 'grotesque caricature of all I've known for 30 years'."

The newspapers have a mixed response to the Bank of England's decision to pump £75bn into the economy. The Daily Mail says it's a triple blow to the fragile finances of families, savers and pensioners. The Daily Mirror describes it as a mercy mission, with Bank governor Mervyn King forced to clean up after Chancellor George Osborne, as reported in the BBC's newspaper review.