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Anderson calls on BBC to clarify speculation that locally produced programmes on Radio Foyle “may be cut”

4 March, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has said that any attempt to dilute or cut local programme time at BBC Radio Foyle would be a backward step.

Her comments follow speculation in the media that there may be cuts to several news and current affairs programmes at the station.

Martina Anderson said

"These are very challenging times for all those working in the local media, we have seen in the past year the closure of the Belfast Telegraph offices in Derry, there are fears of jobs losses and changes for staff in the next few months at the Derry Journal and there has also been the loss of news output and current affairs programmes on UTV.

Now there is speculation that there could be a reduction of local news output on Radio Foyle which could have an impact on several of the key programmes on its daytime schedule.

"Licence payers in Derry are entitled to have programming and news output that reflects the size and population of our city and its rural hinterland .I feel any attempt to dilute or cut locally produced news airtime at BBC Radio Foyle would be a backward step and would further add to the isolation of the North West region. Something we are challenging on a daily basis through the "Stand up for Derry" campaign

"This station has won many awards for its productions over the year and has been station of the year on several occassions therefore the pedigree or professionalism of the station cannot be called into question.

"I would call on the BBC to immediately clarify the situation on its plans for local services at the station, what the local output will be for programming there and will this have any affect on the number of people employed at the station.

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