Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams Calls on Broadcasters to Keep Local News Local

2.18.00pm GMT Mon 29th Oct 2007


Stephen Williams MP has expressed his concern about the proposed cuts to regional news programming that have recently been announced by ITV and the BBC. ITV plans to merge a number of its regional news operations including ITV West and West Country, while the BBC plans to shed over 500 jobs in regional broadcasting.

Stephen Williams commented:

"In an age of increased centralisation of the public space, there is a danger that community voices will become drowned out by national and international news stories. The audience share for ITV West is 13% which is remarkably healthy given the number of channels available to viewers in the age of digital TV; there is clearly a public desire for regional news."

"The planned merger of ITV West with ITV West Country will create an editorial area stretching from Gloucestershire all the way to Cornwall - doubling the region the local news is expected to cover without any increase in its timeslot. This will inevitably mean that fewer of the stories which are reported will be relevant to the viewer."

"Combined with news that the BBC is due to make cuts to a number of their departments over the coming year may also pose a threat to news broadcasting in the area. ITV West and BBC Points West play an important role in communicating local issues to a wide audience. It is vital that they continue to convey a reasonable level of community news alongside national news or they risk weakening the identity of the region."

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Previous news story: Stephen Williams MP and Paul Harrod Call for Competition to First Bus Monopoly (Wed 17th Oct 2007).
Next news story: Stephen Williams MP Supports 'Chooseday' (Tue 30th Oct 2007).

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