Azara Blog: Government wants to throw money at ITV for regional news

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Date published: 2009/09/16

The BBC says:

The culture secretary is to make a speech in which he is expected to defend plans to use part of the TV licence fee to fund regional ITV news.

Ben Bradshaw's department has published research suggesting more than half of the public supported the plan.

This contrasts with a survey for the BBC Trust which suggested most licence-payers would prefer lower licence fees.
The government wants to use a small part of the money after 2012 to maintain regional news on ITV1, which can no longer afford to provide it.

Surprise, the government survey did not ask the public whether or not they would prefer a reduction in license fee or a handout to ITV. Indeed, the government survey was worded to be extremely biased towards the conclusion that the government wanted (surprise). And the government survey was not even random, anyone who managed to find it on the internet could fill it in, and so, even ignoring the biased questions, the results are meaningless. (The BBC survey might well have been no better.)

And of course it is a matter of opinion whether or not ITV1 can "afford" to provide regional news. It should remain part of their license conditions that they do provide this service, and they should not be getting handouts from the government (well, beyond the ones they implicitly get from being given the right to broadcast in the first place).

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