MP accuses BBC of ignoring an 'excellent' region

A Dorset MP has accused the BBC of “sidelining” his constituency by omiting the region from a programme on tourism, writes Wale Azeez.

Jim Knight, Labour MP for Dorset South, fired off a letter to BBC South West’s head of regional and local programmes, John Lilley, calling Spotlight’s omission “a huge disservice to the excellent attractions in the region”.

“I have raised this example with the producer and I am satisfied with his response on this occasion,” he said in the letter. “Despite this, I do think Dorset is often sidelined by BBC South West and much of the good work being done by businesses, charities and schools often goes unmentioned.”

Knight said he would encourage his constituents to write to both Lilley and BBC chairman Gavyn Davies if he does not get satisfaction.

“There’s a widespread perception in the constituency if you look at the regional news on a regular basis – that there appears to be more news about Derriford Hospital in Plymouth than the whole of Dorset.”

Knight compared BBC coverage of Dorset with rival Carlton Westcountry’s output. “Carlton Westcountry has a whole series of mini-studios around the region covering exactly the same broadcast area with the same transmitters as the BBC. As an indication, I am on Carlton Westcountry – I would say – five times more than I’m on BBC South West.”

Lilley said: “The South West’s regional documentary series Inside Out has featured Dorset 10 times in 33 programmes, while Spotlight, the evening regional news programme, has covered eight major Dorset stories in the past couple of months.

“This locally dedicated news service is produced by a full-time reporter and camera crew based in Dorchester. We may not get it right all the time, and I’d be the first to admit there is room for improvement, but I hope that demonstrates our commitment to the area.”

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