Government review will be chance to examine BBC's impact on local press, says Highfield

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

The chief executive of Johnston Press says the government's review of the BBC will be a chance to "look in detail at the impact" it has on local newspapers.

A Green Paper launched today by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will look at all aspects of the future of the corporation, from funding to content.

In the report, it highlighted how "local newspapers have found their business model eroded over recent years as new technologies, changes to consumer behaviour, loss of advertising and other market pressures have created significant challenges".

Chief executive Ashley HighfieldChief executive Ashley Highfield

It added: "The BBC does not provide services at as granular a level as local providers but could, in providing a wide range of content online as well as on radio and TV, have an impact on efforts by local news groups to develop compelling online local and hyper-local services."

And Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield, who earlier this week was named as one of eight appointees to an advisory panel on the charter renewal process, said that local papers were "best placed to reach local audiences".

He said: "The BBC is rightly regarded as a national treasure envied around the world. The Charter Review is an opportunity to make sure it retains that position.

“It is also a chance to look in detail at the impact it has on other areas including local newspapers.

“Local papers can be a genuine partner to the BBC sharing content to our mutual benefit. It is local papers that are best placed to reach local audiences. A symbiotic relationship between us would help the BBC fulfil its charter objective ‘to truly serve and reflect the nations, regions and communities that make up the UK’."

The report also said that greater exposure and attribution should be given by the corporation to local media providers.

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