01/11/2002

Vote of confidence for NI news services

A study of television and other news sources in the UK has found that only 4% of Northern Ireland viewers are dissatisfied with the provision of local news services.

The research carried out by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) found this was the lowest dissatisfaction rate in the UK.

North East England, at 5% was close behind, but 26% of London respondents were unhappy with news services.

The research was originally commissioned following debate about declining levels of engagement in the political process and lower levels of interest in press and broadcast news. The report, 'New News, Old News', co-authored by Professor Ian Hargreaves and James Thomas, confirmed a long-term reduction in audiences for television and radio news and current affairs, along with a well-documented decline in the use of newspapers.

The research found that television is now the leading news medium, with 91% of people declaring it to be a useful source of news. Newspapers are next at 73%, followed by 59% for radio and 15% for the Internet.

However, the study’s authors concluded: “Our news infrastructure... risks being undermined by a growing assumption that news is something available free of charge and even free of effort”.

ITC's Chief Executive Patricia Hodgson said: “Access to trustworthy, informative news can no more be taken for granted than clean air. It requires conscious acts of public policy to guarantee it. Television remains the supreme news medium, one of the few shared experiences across the whole of British society. Yet news is expensive, and audiences, with access to more channels and entertainment, have declined.

"At the heart of the analysis is the value of broadcast news to our society and political culture, and the importance, though the Communications Bill, of supporting investment, easy access and diverse ownership of broadcast news.”

This research was undertaken against a background of growing concern about declining levels of voting and, apparently, diminishing levels of attention paid to news.

Many commentators argue that news, including broadcast news, has been dumbed down and is failing to provide the information needed by today’s citizens.

(GB)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

05 February 2018
Warning For Snow And Ice Issued In NI
A yellow weather warning for snow and ice has been issued across Northern Ireland. The warning has been put in place from 8pm on Monday, 05 February, until 3pm on Tuesday, 06 February. A Met Office spokesperson said: "Snow is likely to be confined to hills above 100 metres over Northern Ireland, but to low levels elsewhere.
19 July 2018
Hosepipe Ban Lifted In NI
A hosepipe ban in Northern Ireland is to be lifted at noon today, 19 July. The ban was put in place as the demand for water remained above normal levels during the heatwave. Sara Venning, Chief Executive Officer of NI Water, thanked the public for their "fantastic response".
16 July 2018
Hosepipe Ban In NI Continues
A hosepipe ban in Northern Ireland is to remain in place as the warm weather continues. Daily water usage remains more than 60 million litres (11.3%) above what is normally required during the July holidays.
08 February 2018
Warning For Snow And Ice Issued In NI
A yellow weather warning for snow and ice has been issued across Northern Ireland. The warning has been issued from 10pm on Thursday, 08 February, until noon on Friday, 09 February. Heavy snow showers are expected following rain and sleet showers. Public transport may be affected and motorists are being urged to take care.
06 February 2018
Warning For Snow And Ice Extended In NI
A yellow weather warning for snow and ice has been extended across Northern Ireland. The warning has been put in place from 11am on Tuesday, 06 February, until 10am on Wednesday, 07 February. Sleet and snow showers are expected with icy stretches forming overnight.