NUJ:”Ofcom proposals will wreck regional ITV”

The NUJ is warning that regional news and programming on ITV could be wiped out unless the regulator Ofcom acts to save them.

In its response to Ofcom’s major “Phase Two” policy document on Public Service Broadcasting, the union says it is “deeply concerned that the proposals for broadcasting in the nations and regions wholly fail to satisfy Ofcom’s duty to maintain and strengthen public service broadcasting.”

The NUJ claims: “Ofcom should enforce a much higher level of regional programming across the schedules of ITV, as part of a strategy to build ITV as a branded public service platform in the digital future.

“At the very least, Ofcom should seek to ensure that the current level of revenues going towards PSB is kept.”

On the BBC, the NUJ says that the licence fee remains the “fairest, the most widely supported and most effective means of funding”.

The plan for a “Public Service Publisher” is, claims the union, “a diversion designed to foster public support for the removal from the system of public service broadcasting by ITV.”

Minister for Europe Denis MacShane has come out publicly in support of the union’s campaign to save regional coverage.

MacShane, a former NUJ president, said: “I’m very concerned at reports that could see any reduction in regional news on TV.

As it is we have a news centre that is over-dominated by the metropolitan elite in London.”

He added: “In particular, as Europe Minister, I am concerned that the fashionable London cynicism and scorn about Europe permeates the approach of broadcasters.”

By Jon Slattery

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