The BBC’s new proposal to hire 100 journalists to provide a news service for local newspapers is a Trojan horse which will undermine long-established publications and destroy local news agencies.
Director General Tony Hall today announced plans to expand the BBC’s local services as part of the Corporation’s attempt to head off government reforms under the renewal of its Royal Charter next year.
In a speech today, Hall denied his plans were expansionist but signalled the start of a new open Corporation which would partner other media and creative organisations.
SNS director John McLellan said: “The newspaper industry has previously offered to partner the BBC by sharing its content with the Corporation but this plan turns that on its head.
“Instead of helping local news publishers, it would make the BBC even more powerful and would further concentrate coverage of news in the hands of the state-funded broadcaster.
“This plan actually goes against everything for which we’ve been arguing and just looks like the old, failed plan to hire an army of local video journalists by the back door under the guise of co-operation
“Further, this announcement has been made without any consultation, certainly not in Scotland. The SNS has repeatedly asked BBC Scotland for its views on news sharing and we have been completely ignored.
“If anything, this is more evidence of the BBC’s high-handed attitude towards commercial news providers by which they tell us what’s good for us and expect us to be grateful.
“Tony Hall has also chosen today to announce a new service for North Korea and I wonder if he’s aware of the deep irony in that.”