Feb 7 2013 by Magdalene Dalziel
Politicians from all parties agree that Dumfries and Galloway needs better televised local news.
MSP Joan McAlpine led a debate in the Scottish Parliament last week about the “poor” news coverage on TV in the south of Scotland.
A report will now be sent to UK Minister for Culture and Sport Maria Miller ahead of a renewal of the Channel 3 licence for the former Border TV area.
Updates for the region currently come from ITV, while STV transmits in central and northern Scotland.
Ms McAlpine said: “The debate went exceptionally well.
“There was a consensus across the parties – the suggested solutions were different, but we all recognise there is a problem and the service is not good enough.
“I don’t think it is an option to campaign for STV to take over but we can put pressure on Ofcom to make sure ITV improve their Scottish and local coverage.
“I plan to send a report to Maria Miller to convey the strength of cross-party feeling about this issue.”
The mood in Holyrood was supportive when Ms McAlpine highlighted that, although the region receives BBC Scotland coverage, people are entitled to a “plurality” of news services.
Labour MSP Elaine Murray said: “Local people have had the opportunity to view BBC Scotland and the general opinion was that viewers were generally content with the services offered by Border TV until it moved into ITV Tyne Tees region, which covers a far larger area.”
Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume added: “It’s important that viewers in the south-west do not see a dilution of local content and I will continue to make that point throughout discussions with Ofcom and the Department of Culture and Sport.”