Ofcom accused of letting public service role falter

Ofcom has been condemned by the National Union of Journalists for "promoting the market at the expense of citizens".

The NUJ conference passed a motion condemning Ofcom for allowing "drastic cutbacks" in the public service commitments for commercial TV.

Delegate Granville Williams said: "We have an urgent job to do to alert people to the danger of the creeping power of Ofcom."

The union also pledged £1,000 to be spent on a campaign to protect jobs and programmes at the BBC. NUJ broadcast organiser Paul McLaughlin said: "Just by the numbers you can see what’s been achieved so far. Out of the proposed 3,700 jobs cuts at the BBC, the figure now stands at below 50 in terms of potential compulsory redundancies.

We’ve had the support of the whole union — everybody’s chipped in."

The BBC was condemned for ditching 10 languages in the World Service to provide for World Service Arabic Television, which the union described as "cultural vandalism".

Members agreed to a campaign against any compulsory redundancies as a result of the move and that industrial action could be taken within seven days of such a move.

Delegate Iain Bruce said he did not welcome the 150 jobs created by the launch of an Arabic service "imposed on the BBC by the Foreign Office".

And he said: "I don’t think anyone in the Arabic world wants a service provided by one of the occupying powers in Iraq. I can’t think of anything that will compromise the independence of the BBC more than a television service that will, in effect, be a media arm of the occupation."

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