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Industry expert fears that Edinburgh and Glasgow will be ‘sidelined’ in bids for local TV station licences

Companies seeking licences for local television stations in Edinburgh and Glasgow are at risk of being “sidelined” by communications regulator Ofcom, according to an industry expert.

The Scotsman reports today that Freeview plans to place local stations south of the Border in slot number eight in its line-up of channels, but that Scottish stations will be demoted to number 45 because BBC Alba occupies the channel eight berth in Scotland.

The Scotsman says that Richard Horwood, chief executive of Channel 6, which is bidding for a licence in London, wants Ofcom to move ITV2 out of slot number six and give it to local TV stations.

It quotes Horwood as saying: “Good-quality local TV has always been a commercial challenge. The only way to help it prosper is to give it prominent listing. It’s Ofcom’s job to make sure all the local channels benefit from Freeview prominent listing - not just the English ones.”

The Scotsman reports that Ofcom declined to comment ahead of its investigation into local TV.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times claims that the Scottish National Party is examining plans to create a separate newspaper watchdog for Scotland if the country gains independence.

The News International broadsheet reports that the SNP want to create a model with fewer ties to the media thanthe Press Complaints Commission, and claims that the subject is expected to be raised by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, when he appears before the Leveson Inquiry into press standards in June.

The Sunday Times quotes a senior SNP source as saying: “We have a distinctive news agenda in Scotland so there are logical arguments for a distinctive watchdog.

“There is an opportunity for us to set up a commission which is stronger than the PCC and which is not seen as being too close to the industry in terms of those who serve on it.”

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