BBC director-general Tim Davie is wielding the axe at the corporation by cutting almost 400 World Service jobs. Under the new plans, BBC Arabic radio and BBC Persian radio will also close.
The corporation said the plans would “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 announced in due course.
The BBC said: “Today’s proposals entail a net total of around 382 post closures.
“The proposals will see seven more language services moving to digital only, modelling the success of others which are already offering purely digital services and performing well with audiences.”
As a result, almost half of all 41 language services would be digital only, the statement explained.
It added: “The BBC World Service will continue to operate in all the languages and countries where it is currently present, including the new languages added during its expansion in 2016.
“No language services will close.”
The announcement added: “The World Service will continue to serve audiences during moments of jeopardy and will ensure audiences in countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Afghanistan have access to vital news services, using appropriate broadcast and distribution platforms.”
Deadline.com reported Liliane Landor, BBC World Service Director, as saying: “There is a compelling case for expanding our digital services across the World Service in order to better serve and connect with our audience.
“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.”
Philippa Childs, head of broadcasting union Bectu, said of the BBC World Service proposals: “Bectu is disappointed to see the proposed changes to services announced today by the BBC World Service.
“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 – its freezing of the licence fee and the resulting funding challenges has necessitated these proposals.
“As well as potential ramifications for the BBC’s reputation globally, these proposals will directly impact the talented and dedicated people who work hard to deliver critical news services to the nation and beyond.”
She added: “This is a challenging and uncertain time for our members and we will continue to fully engage with World Service over these proposals to do everything we can to support them.
“We will be seeking to ensure that the BBC redeploys staff where possible and that it mitigates the needs for any compulsory redundancies.
“It’s important that any changes position the BBC as strongly as possible for the future and deliver the best outcomes for its audiences and staff.”