A total of 382 jobs at BBC World Service will be cut as part of plans to move to a digital-led service.

The broadcaster will also close its BBC Arabic and BBC Persian radios in a move it says will help "accelerate its digital offering and increase impact with audiences around the globe".

World Service English will continue to operate globally as 24-hour broadcast radio, with new scheduling, programmes and podcasts to be set out in due course.

The BBC said: "High inflation, soaring costs, and a cash-flat licence fee settlement have led to tough choices across the BBC, and the BBC's international services need to make a saving of £28.5m (€31.9m) as part of the wider £500m (€560m) of annual savings and reinvestment to make the BBC digital-led."

The director of BBC World Service, Liliane Landor, added: "The role of the BBC has never been more crucial worldwide. The BBC is trusted by hundreds of millions of people for fair and impartial news, especially in countries where this is in short supply.

"We help people in times of crisis. We will continue to bring the best journalism to audiences in English and more than 40 languages, as well as increasing the impact and influence of our journalism by making our stories go further.

"There is a compelling case for expanding our digital services across the World Service in order to better serve and connect with our audiences.

"The way audiences are accessing news and content is changing and the challenge of reaching and engaging people around the world with quality, trusted journalism is growing."

Eleven language services: Azerbaijani, Brasil, Marathi, Mundo, Punjabi, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese, are already digital only.

Under the restructuring plans they will be joined by seven more: Chinese, Gujarati, Igbo, Indonesian, Pidgin, Urdu and Yoruba.

Radio services in Arabic, Persian, Kyrgyz, Hindi, Bengali, Chinese, Indonesian, Tamil and Urdu will stop, if the proposals are approved by staff and unions.

No language services will close, the broadcaster insisted, although some production will move out of London and schedules would change.

The Thai service will move to Bangkok, the Korean service to Seoul and the Bangla service to Dhaka.

The "Focus on Africa" television bulletin will be broadcast from Nairobi, it added.

Government criticised

The head of the broadcasting union Bectu, Philippa Childs, said they were disappointed at the proposed changes.

"While we recognise the BBC must adapt to meet the challenges of a changing media landscape, once again it is workers who are hit by the government's poorly judged political decisions," she said.

The government's freezing of the licence fee which pays for BBC World Service had created the funding squeeze and the need for cuts, she added.

Bectu will push for staff to be redeployed where possible and to ensure it mitigates the needs for any compulsory redundancies.

BBC World Service is funded out of the UK licence fee, and the British government announced a freeze on the licence fee in January, in what was seen by critics as an attempt to save the then-prime minister Boris Johnson's job.

At the time Mr Johnson was facing mounting claims of wrongdoing in office, which ultimately forced him to resign.

Ministers claimed the funding model needed to be revised because of technological changes, including the uptake of streaming services, as well as increases in the cost of living.

With additional reporting from AFP.