Received from: NUJ
Congress believes that accurate reporting and access to reliable information is vital for voters to make informed decisions. Public service broadcasting (PSB) plays a crucial role in providing unbiased news reports, scrutinising political parties’ claims, and holding politicians to account.
Congress notes there has been a proliferation of dis-and misinformation in recent years, including on social media, which has impacted voters’ views and judgement.
Congress further notes a YouGov survey (May 2023) which found that PSB broadcasters have the highest net trust ratings of all media outlets, including BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. Of these, the organisation that the largest number of people trust is the BBC.
BBC local radio reaches audiences other media do not. Yet, BBC management want to cut local output across 39 local stations by up to 50 per cent, cutting journalists’ jobs and drastically reducing coverage of local issues. This will adversely impact listeners, including many elderly, disabled and digitally disadvantaged people.
Congress condemns cuts to BBC Local and calls for the corporation to rethink its plans to make output less local, especially given the upcoming general election.
Congress instructs the General Council to:
i. lobby for the Media Bill to be used as an opportunity to strengthen PSB in every respect, including ringfencing funding for local output;
ii. campaign for professional journalism and impartial reporting to be at the heart of PSB, with the public’s right to know enshrined for future generations.
National Union of Journalists