I joined my Labour colleagues in the region by writing to Dame Melanie Dawes, the Chief Executive of Ofcom regarding the BBC’s disappointing decision to cut local news reporting in the North. In the letter we pointed out that the North will lose the only programme dedicated to investigative journalism in the region. We will also lose numerous jobs in local news, the number of news stories that can be broadcast on TV would be cut, as well as the number of articles that can inform the area online. This is detrimental to the functioning of democracy, and directly contradicts Ofcom’s recommendation regarding the BBC better reflecting the UK in a way that is relevant to all audiences, and the BBC’s own response about deepening representation of the whole of the UK.
In Dame Melanie’s response to us she said that Ofcom are closely monitoring this and that they have conducted an in-depth review of the BBC’s
news and current affairs output. She went on to say that the review concluded the BBC must better represent the whole of the UK. She also outlined some of the conclusions of the review such as better, more knowledgeable community reporting. Dame Melanie has written to the BBC asking them to set out to Ofcom further details on their decisions to make cuts to regional news in England.