04/12/2009

BBC 'Ageism' Resurfaces

The BBC is again under the microscope for alleged ageism after a news presenter claimed that she has been forced to move to Beijing.

Susan Osman, 51, told The Times this was to escape the corporation's ingrained 'culture of ageism'.

If true, she would join the likes of the BBC's Moira Stuart in claiming a policy that favours youth over experience in epidemic at the corporation.

Ms Osman has worked in broadcasting for 28 years, presenting bulletins on BBC World and reporting for ITN News. She fronted the Bristol-based Points West on BBC One for 14 years.

But she claimed that her age had become an insurmountable barrier in Britain and has accepted a job hosting a prime-time breakfast show on China Radio International and is moving to Beijing.

The freelance presenter had been for a series of auditions for BBC jobs and been told she was "marvellous", but she was consistently overlooked, without explanation.

Moira Stuart, 60, was axed from reading the news on Sunday mornings, and while the BBC is now seeking to hire anchors over the age of 50, it is thought unlikely that these new presenters would front the high-profile 6pm or 10pm bulletins.

Previously, the BBC was embroiled in another ageism row when Arlene Phillips, 66, was replaced as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing by Alesha Dixon, 31.

(BMcc/GK)

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