Geldof raps government over Northern Ireland's omission from news pilots

LONDON - Bob Geldof, co-founder of TV production company Ten Alps, has attacked the Government's omission of Northern Ireland from regional news pilots.

Bob Geldof: rapped government over Northern Ireland's omission from news pilots
Bob Geldof: rapped government over Northern Ireland's omission from news pilots

Geldof's company plans to bid for a licence to operate regional ITV news services in Northern Ireland.

The firm is in discussions with the Belfast Telegraph about bidding for any of the so-called Independently Funded News Consortium (IFNC) pilot contracts tendered for regional ITV news services.

IFNCs are a key part of the Government's policy for ensuring the continued provision of regional news on ITV once the broadcaster withdraws from the genre post digital switchover.

The Government is consulting on the idea until Tuesday (22 September) - after which it will launch three pilots of local news consortia, one each in Scotland, Wales and an English region next year.

However, Northern Ireland was not designated as a region for piloting IFNCs in the Digital Britain report, but Ten Alps and the Belfast Telegraph are planning a cross-platform rolling news service in Northern Ireland taking in news bulletins, press, localised websites and online TV coverage.

In a statement, Bob Geldof, non-executive director and co-founder of Ten Alps, said the exclusion of Northern Ireland from the pilots "was rare and frankly odd", adding that no explanation received from the government so far "makes sense - from lack of funds for the province, to lack of credible alternative news suppliers".

He added: "So we ask the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to give Belfast a tender process, and allow Northern Ireland to fully engage in a democratic process in the vitally important news sector."

 

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