MPs, unions and locals join bid to save studios

Protests followed the closure announcement

Journalists campaigning to keep open ITV Central’s East Midlands newsroom in Nottingham have been boosted by 5,000 local people signing a petition and support from Bectu and Amicus unions.

The NUJ is preparing to meet MPs and discuss campaign plans as a 90-day consultation period begins. “The company has already made its decision and is now holding discussions with staff to come up with the best way to implement it,” a local NUJ official told Press Gazette.

Journalists met the NUJ parliamentary group of MPs on Wednesday and will meet with local MPs and councillors on Friday evening.

Forty-seven MPs have now signed an Early Day Motion, tabled by Mansfield Labour MP Alan Meale, voicing concern at the studio closure.

It is understood Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, a Nottinghamshire MP, has written to Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter about the proposed closure and the moving of operations to Birmingham. As a member of the Cabinet he was unable to sign the EDM.

The NUJ and ITV Central journalists have also set up a website, www.notfrombrum.org.uk, to coordinate the campaign.

A select committee report to Media Secretary Tessa Jowell – which will be debated by MPs – published after Press Gazette went to press, was expected to make clear it was Ofcom’s job to ensure ITV stood by its commitments to give priority to regional news and programmes, writes David Rose.

The report from the all-party media select committee was also expected to make clear the closure of TV studios presented the regulator with the first test of its powers. MPs hardened their criticism following Central’s announcement that it was closing its Nottingham studios with the loss of 200 jobs.

By Wale Azeez

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