Meridian staff act over news cuts

Meridian BECTU and NUJ members leafleted Fareham Shopping Centre today to highlight ITV's threat to reduce regional news output.

Picture of Meridian staff leafleting on 5 November 2007

Meridian staff out leafleting

Current coverage provided by Meridian Tonight  a region which, if stood on its head, would stretch from the south coast to Sheffield  could be substantially affected by ITV’s drive to cut £40million from the regional news budget.

ITV announced the planned cuts, which are subject to Ofcom approval, in September. The company is said to be deferring an announcement on the full impact of the proposed cuts until next spring. Ofcom has just started its second review into Public Service Broadcasting, a review that will be conducted throughout 2008 and into 2009.

The extent to which viewers identify with their regional news was summed up today by one gentleman who on being given information about the cuts said: “That’s bad news for Fred” in reference to popular, veteran broadcaster Fred Dineage who co-hosts Meridian Tonight with Debbie Thrower.

“Bad news for Fred, indeed, but many more staff will be badly affected if ITV gets its way and local communities will find many fewer outlets for key debate on local issues,” commented BECTU official Sharon Elliott.

Campaign co-ordinators are appealing to the public to support regional news in the following three ways:

  1. Sign the petition at petitions.pm.gov.uk
  2. Write to their MPs with a request that they sign the petition and back the campaign - www.writetothem.com
  3. Email Ofcom at psbreview@ofcom.org.uk with a request to the regulator to reject ITV’s savage cuts.

Supporters can also find more info about the campaign at www.saveitvnews.blogspot.com.

Monday 5 November 2007