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Senior Reporter at The Drum

Parliamentary debate planned to discuss the lack of local and regional news content in the south of Scotland

A parliamentary debate is set to take place next Wednesday (30 January) to discuss the lack of Scottish and local news coverage available in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway regions.

At present both regions do have access to BBC content but receive their Channel 3 content from ITV with news supplied mainly from the Gateshead region.

A letter sent to The Drum by Joan McAlpine MSP outlines that “STV has offered to provide ITV in the region with no-news content at cost. This would include the current affairs show Scotland Tonight. In my view, this is an offer that ITV should be urged to consider.”

The letter furthers that the current decision from Maria Miller, the UK Minister for Culture and Sport, to not block the renewal of Channel 3 licences means that ITV “could continue to cover the area stretching between Stranraer to Eyemouth, taking in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway” leaving these areas with very limited service and no Scottish news service on Channel 3.

According to McAlpine the impending referendum on Scottish Independence makes it imperative that both regions receive as much access as possible to news and current affairs from Scotland.

Though the issue has been acknowledged by Miller, who has asked Ofcom to work with ITV to improve the news coverage on offer in this part of Scotland, the debate aims to find a solution in order to offer “real choice for the viewers across the south of Scotland.”

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