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Tuesday, July 30, 2013
CIOJ Journalists rap Ofcom over plans to stifle regional news.
The Chartered Institute of Journalists has condemned plans to reduce regional news output on ITV as a “total betrayal” by Ofcom of viewers around the country. I am a Fellow of the CIOJ and as someone who lives outside the London metropolis I wholeheartedly support the CIOJ protests at plans to stifle regional news. Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, has approved what the Institute says are “dramatic reductions” in the length of regional lunchtime and late evening bulletins, and agreed that the early-evening round-up of the day’s news can now include ten minutes of events from outside the region. The Chairman of the CIoJ’s Broadcasting Division says the planned cuts take coverage of news in the regions to a new low. Paul Leighton – a long-serving BBC producer and former Radio 2 newsreader - commented “Viewers at weekends will see the 10 minute regional slots reduced to a paltry five minutes and lunchtime output more than halved. “As a regulator, Ofcom was put in place to protect the interests of the consumer – the viewer – not to pander to an industry which made £464m pre-tax profits last year and still has the gall to plead poverty.” Leighton said he welcomed the broadcaster’s plan to revert to greater localisation by operating 14 regions rather than the 8 to which it was reduced in 2009. “But with such a major reduction in the length of bulletins, the exercise looks suspiciously cosmetic. “If Ofcom won’t do its job as a regulator, perhaps it’s time the job was given to an organisation that will!” Note to editors: Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world’s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.
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