Monday, 14 January 2008

South West TUC pulls out the stops

The South West Regional TUC has passed an emergency motion in support of the Save ITV News campaign after being briefed by activists.

Copies of the motion will be sent to MPs, Ofcom and Michael Grade. It reads:

This Regional Council is concerned at ITV's plans to halve its budget for regional and local programming: a move that would merge ITV West in Bristol with ITV Westcountry in Plymouth.

Not only would this have an adverse effect on people's right to know, giving journalists the same time (half an hour) to cover twice as much news, and not only would it provide a regional news service with no relevance to local communities, but it would also see journalists covering a region in which it takes longer to drive from one end to the other than it does from London to Carlisle.

This Regional Council also notes that as a Public Service Broadcaster, ITV is given its right to broadcast by Act of Parliament. In return it is required to fulfil special obligations. If ITV's proposals go ahead, these commitments will not be met. "

At the meeting on Saturday the council resolved to write to South West MPs and Ofcom to express concern and urge them to support the NUJ's campaign. The council also agreed to write to Michael Grade asking him to stop the cuts.

We warmly welcome the support of the regional TUC and thank them for their efforts. We would also ask other regional councils to follow in their footsteps and debate the demolition of ITV local and regional news before its too late.

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