Media in the Press 20.1.11

POST-graduate journalism student, Orla Ni Sheaghdha, from Edinburgh Napier University reviews the media stories in today’s newspapers…

Reports the Daily Record (page 4), Trinity Mirror boss, Sly Bailey, has expressed concern over News Corporation being allowed to take full control of BSkyB. She is quoted as saying at the Oxford Media Convention: “Jeremy Hunt [Culture Secretary] thinks this deal won’t change anything. We need to educate him. This deal is bad news for our democracy.” The article also reports that broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, have handed Hunt a report into whether the deal raises public interest issues.

Elsewhere, concerns have been raised by BBC director-general, Mark Thompson over technological resources for free-to-air TV. Thompson is quoted in The Herald (page 3) – also speaking at yesterday’s Oxford Media Conference: “The universal delivery of high-quality free-to-air content faces immediate threat and a future which is by no means certain.” The Herald ends with a list of the innovations, according to Mr Thompson, brought about by the BBC’s research and development labs including Freeview, Freesat and the iPlayer.

Also in The Herald (page 4): Jeremy Hunt has unveiled plans for new local television channels. Firms interested in running the new TV channels are invited to register by March 1. A spokesperson for the Herald & Times Group is quoted as saying that the company is considering the proposals. Licences for local TV services will be issued before the end of next year and it is hope there will be between ten and 20 such TV services by 2015.

Sky is due to broadcast the Queen’s Christmas message in 2011 and 2012, according to this morning’s papers. The Scottish Sun reports (page 15) that Sky will join the BBC and ITN on a rota to produce the broadcast, which has been in place since 1997. Simon Cole, deputy head of Sky News is reported as saying it is a “great honour” to produce the broadcast in the years of two royal weddings and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Gail and Tommy Sheridan are also featured in the papers this morning. The Daily Record says (page 5) the pair are seeking an inquiry into how the BBC acquired CCTV footage of them being interviewed by police. Just before Christmas, in the immediate wake of Tommy Sheridan having been found guilty of perjury during his successful defamation case against the News of the World five years ago, BBC Scotland broadcast footage of each being interviewed by police.

The pair’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, is quoted in the article: “I am not aware of any warnings given to individuals when cautioned by the police that information given to them may be used in a future BBC documentary.” The Herald also reports on the story (page 5). It is stated that the couple are also making a formal complaint to broadcasting regulator, Ofcom.

And finally, the 85th anniversary of the invention of television is to be marked with a new online TV channel. The Daily Record (page 17) reports that URTV Helensborough, the birth place of TV inventor John Logie Baird, will be launched next week – as announced on allmediascotland. URTV chief Jo de Sylva is quoted in the piece: “We’ll provide news, views and entertainment to communities at a level most broadcasters can’t compete with.” The paper reports that it is the first of a network of local channels planned for towns across Britain.