Dear BBC: Don’t cut African Caribbean journalist


A powerful group of individuals including the most senior Black person- Pat Younge- the BBC has ever employed- have written to senior bosses at the BBC urging them not to axe a key journalistic post dedicated to covering African and Caribbean stories. Here’s the letter.

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Dear Tony Hall and James Harding,

We the undersigned wish to register our serious concerns, recently reported in The Voice newspaper that the BBC has made the decision to cut the specialist African/African Caribbean reporter covering home affairs for Black communities across England, including BBC UK Black.

It is our view that this will represent a serious deficit in the BBC’s ability to effectively cover socioeconomic, cultural and political issues regarding Black communities throughout the UK.

We strongly believe the present journalistic role is a unique function at the BBC as the only full time journalist specializing in Black African/African Caribbean news and current affairs for and by Black Britons. We value and support this specialism which provides an unparalleled insight for the programmes and the tens of thousands of listeners. Equally it also provides for Black African/African Caribbean journalists great opportunities to develop a national portfolio of work and experience.

As the BBC begins the process of charter renewal, Black African/ African Caribbean people will be seeking reassurances that their license fee is being spent in their interests too. It will be difficult to reconcile this decision to cut the specialist Black African/ African Caribbean journalist with the BBC's claims to effectively and respectively serve the Black British population. Therefore, we respectfully urge you to reconsider this proposal by first having conversations with stakeholders and staff.

We await your response on this matter. We also welcome a broader dialogue to address diversity across the BBC, in a number of areas, in particularly regards to Black African/African Caribbean journalists and other members of key staff about their possibilities to progress into senior news and current affairs positions.

Yours sincerely,

Pat Younge Former BBC director
Diane Abbott MP
David Lammy MP
Baroness Ros Howells
Simon Woolley Director OBV
George Rudduck Editor of The Voice