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Statement on BBC local websites row

An opinion piece co-authored by six senior editorial executives in corporate regional media was carried in numerous local titles yesterday, describing the corporation as the "neighbours from hell".

It's critical that the BBC is mindful of the need to protect vibrant, independent journalism and publishers in any plans to expand local news provision. It should consult with representative groups like the Independent Media Association (IMA) before rolling out new services in areas that may already be well-served.

Reach, Newsquest and other national and multinational corporate publishers must also reconsider their business plans, which currently involve trying to monopolise local news provision to squeeze out independent voices, cutting journalist roles and salaries, relocating local journalists to regional hubs, and churning out untrusted and unregulated journalism.

We need new models of news media to save the local press, and a more collaborative relationship with the BBC which prioritises the vital role played by the independent media.

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