Monday 19 October 2009

Tories don't support local news consortia plans

In an interview with the Financial Times today, shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he does not approve of the government's plans for state-supported local news on ITV by creating "independently funded news consortia", paid for by taking £130 million from the BBC by top-slicing the licence fee.
That proposal, if it is included in a digital economy bill next month, would be reversed by a Tory government, Hunt tells the FT.
He says he wants to make conditions ripe for commercial growth in TV by deregulating and his priorities would be to ensure continued local news on ITV and the survival of local press and radio.
Hunt also says of the BBC's internet service. "The BBC is planning so-called passion websites. It might sound well and good for them to have, say, an angling website, but if it drove out of business every angling magazine in the country, you would have to question if it was the right sort of thing to do."
Asked how he can enforce change, Hunt says: "[We will have] a very fundamental root-and-branch discussion with the BBC about all its activities."

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