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September 30, 2008 12:23 PM

Newcastle East Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman Greg Stone has expressed concern over an announcement by ITV that it intends to cut 430 jobs in its regional news operations.

It is feared that jobs at Tyne Tees could be hit as plans have been announced to merge the newsroom operations of Tyne Tees and Border.

Councillor Stone said: "We have seen a steady decline in the amount of ITV programming produced by the North East's local station as the network produces more and more national content geared towards entertainment rather than factual or educational programmes.

"Other than news programming, a decreasing amount of broadcasting content is produced in the North East.

"Now it appears that there will be further cuts to the remaining regionally produced programmes as Tyne Tees and Border merge their news operations.

"Regional broadcasting and regional news coverage whether from the BBC or ITV is an important part of this region's cultural identity and it would be disappointing to see the few remaining hours of documentary and current affairs produced by and for the North East replaced by anodyne nationally produced content.

"As a commercial operation ITV clearly needs to take business-focused decisions, but it is a crying shame that regional news broadcasting here in the North East is bearing the brunt of mistakes made by senior ITV executives which led to the station receiving a record £5.675 million OFCOM fine for dodgy phone-ins."