MLAs focus on Your TV

22 11 2008

Nice work Sinn Fein! Order paper for Stormont business this Monday includes the following private members’ motion:

That this Assembly expresses concern at Ofcom’s proposals for a diminution in the public service obligations of UTV through a reduction in the minimum requirements for regional news and non-news programmes ; calls on Ofcom to protect diverse, quality broadcasting through the promotion of local news and programming; calls for the extension of Ofcom’s Public Service Broadcasting Review consultation period for a further three months; and further calls on UTV to suspend its restructuring and redundancy programme pending the outcome of this consultation process, and following meaningful consultation and negotiations with the trade unions representing staff at UTV.

[Mr B McElduff][Mr F Brolly][Mr R McCartney]

It’s a good motion. It addresses the source of the problem at Ofcom and sends the appropriate message to UTV.

Incidentally, registering concern over the proposed cuts at UTV is not exclusive to Stormont. There’s a lobby site here which contains a specimen letter to download and send.

DCAL Minister Gregory Campbell is on the ball. He’s agreed to a meeting with ministers in the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government to discuss broadcasting issues in light of the Ofcom review.

Incidentally, that assembly debate cast up the question of the week from the UUP’s David McNarry. Staff at Bobballs repeat in here in full:

Mr McNarry: I thank the Minister for his responses. Ofcom’s review gives UTV the right to cut its regional news broadcasting by half in order to save money. Given that the embedment of peace and normalisation of society in Northern Ireland are so closely linked to news and current affairs, what change of mind by UTV does the Minister consider to be attainable in the public interest?

Erm… que? Fair play to Gregory, he answered it. And for that he gets this week’s ‘Bobballs Man of the Match’ award for playing a blinder and deciphering that bollocks. Your award is winding its way to you right now by fax. Many happy returns.

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