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Dundee LibDems back calls saying Ofcom review is bad news for Scottish TV viewers

September 26, 2008 4:46 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats
Iain Smith MSP

Iain Smith MSP

Dundee LibDems today (Friday 26th September) supported comments by Scottish Liberal Democrat Culture spokesperson, Iain Smith MSP, that Ofcom's review of public service broadcasting is bad news for television viewers across Scotland.

Amongst Ofcom's proposals are a cut by a third of the number of programmes on the ITV network that have to be made outside of London, the merger of ITV Borders and Tyne Tees and the potential creation of a single Scottish franchise in 2014.

Speaking after attending the Scottish launch of Ofcom's proposals, Iain Smith said, "Ofcom's plans are bad news for television viewers across Scotland. They have put the demands of one private company, ITV plc., above the long-term future of public service broadcasting in Scotland.

"Cutting the amount of ITV programming which has to be made outside London will make it harder for STV to get programmes onto the ITV network and that threatens the viability of SMG as in independent company and the ability of skilled television technical staff to earn a living in Scotland.

"Public service broadcasting is not safe in the hands of Ofcom."

Borders MP and Deputy Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Michael Moore added, "I fail to comprehend how Ofcom can say they are responding to audience's needs when their report blatantly ignores the many thousands of letters, petitions and submissions that have been sent in to them expressing opposition to the merger of Border Television with Tyne Tees.

"This decision could only have been made by people stuck in London offices who fail to understand the importance of regional news and diversity. I would like to know what Ofcom's Scottish Advisory Committee recommended because this proposal indicates a complete failure by this centralised - and centralising - regulator."

Here in Dundee, LibDem City Council Group Leader, Cllr Fraser Macpherson, added, "Making it harder for STV to get programmes onto the ITV network is a highly detrimental step for Ofcom to take and it potentially extremely bad news for the future of television production in Scotland."

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