Coalition deal appears to bury broadcast news pilots

Proposals to replace ITV regional news with a series of independently funded consortia appear to have been buried by the Lib-Con Government coalition agreement.

There is no mention of the news consortia plan in the deal which suggests that the £130m of BBC licence fee allocated to funding it should instead be spent ‘if necessary’on funding superfast broadband.

Whatever happens ITV has said it plans to abandon public service broadcasting in the regions in the near future.

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The Lib-Con Government said today that it wants to ‘enable partnerships between local newspapers, radio and television stations to promote a strong and diverse local media industry”.

The coalition document says the Government will maintain the independence of the BBC but ‘give the National Audit Office full access to the BBC’s accounts to ensure transparency”.

The coalition Government also promised today: ‘We will introduce measures to ensure the rapid roll-out of superfast broadband across the country.”

The regional news consortia were due to start this month following a lengthy bidding process with schemes set to get underway in Scotland, Wales and the Scottish Borders region of England.

As previously promised in the outline agreement, the coalition has said it will ‘will extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency’and ‘review libel laws to protect freedom of speech”.



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