Border TV campaign taken to Ofcom

A FIGHT to prevent the amalgamation of the news operation at Border TV with that of Newcastle-based Tyne Tees was yesterday taken to London and the broadcasting regulators, Ofcom.

With the aid of a 9,000-strong petition, the campaign – involving broadcasting trade union, BECTU – fears news reporting in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway will be muscled out by that from Northumberland and Newcastle. The amalgamation is being proposed by ITV, as a cost-cutting exercise, but requires Ofcom approval before it can go ahead.

Says BECTU general secretary, Gerry Morrissey: “It is Ofcom’s responsibility to act in the interest of the viewer and not solely in the interest of ITV. The industry should be urged by Ofcom to come forward with alternative proposals which ensure that local news is preserved for the future.

“If the current proposals are approved by Ofcom, then the future is grim for those working in the local news and the diversity of local news that was protected under the ITV licence regime will be lost forever. I urge Ofcom to reject the current proposals from ITV and to protect local news.”

Pictured (left to right): Peter Howdle, BECTU representative, Adam Powell, NUJ representative and Tony Steer, Border TV floor manager.