Council, police and fire chiefs rally in support of the BBC’s Cambridge Look East
BBC director general Tim Davie has been asked to rethink dropping the Cambridge bulletin by a group representing four counties – Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes – who called it a retrograde step, saying the programme was an important way "in which all our organisations communicate with communities".
The plans, part of the corporation’s digital-first approach, will also see the end of the Oxford bulletin and involve increased programme sharing across neighbouring stations in England. This could mean cuts to the number of journalists reporting in communities that may otherwise have been ignored and dilute the breadth and quality of local news provision.
Paul Siegert , NUJ national broadcasting organisers, said:
The letter said: "In our collective view this is a retrograde step, leaving one of the fastest growing regions in the UK with a much-reduced television news service. We are extremely concerned that many local issues will no longer receive the coverage or scrutiny they deserve. With a growing population, diverse communities and major social economic challenges we deserve our own dedicated television region. At a time when other local news services are under threat, the BBC should be enhancing their coverage, not returning to a 1980s approach to regional television."
“I am delighted to hear that local organisations across the Cambridgeshire transmission area have written to the BBC to complain about the axing of their TV bulletin. I would encourage all organisations, charities, business leaders, politicians, sports women and men and indeed every single viewer from the Cambridge and Oxford areas to do the same. The simple reality is once the TV bulletins stop it will be harder for everyone in these areas to have their voices heard. They will be paying the same amount of licence fee as other parts of England but getting a poorer service. That’s not acceptable and now is the time to speak out. If you care about local news in Oxford and Cambridge and if you want your voices heard then let the BBC know before it is too late.”
The proposal has also been criticised by Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner who described it as "a step backwards".The Cambridge and Oxford bulletins are due to end later this year.