Digital Publishing
2 mins read

National World considers serving an injunction on the BBC over competition in four English cities

National World, one of the UK’s leading regional publishers, is considering serving an injunction on the BBC over its plans to launch new local websites serving four English cities – a move that National World’s Executive Chairman, David Montgomery, describes in a wider op-ed as ‘mission creep’ and ‘sinister’.

One of the UK’s leading regional publishers, National World, has said it is considering injuncting the BBC over its ‘outrageous and anti-competitive plans’ to launch new dedicated local online services in four English cities which are already served by what it says are ‘highly respected independent media groups’.

In a press release accompanying the news, National World argues that whilst the BBC slashes its arts and local radio offering, the broadcaster is simultaneously extending its digital local news reporting into Bradford, Wolverhampton, Sunderland and Peterborough – cities which National World says have a ‘proud tradition of respected local journalism’ from titles including its own titles, the Peterborough Telegraph and Sunderland Echo.

The local news publisher also said it was also talking to the other independent regional publishers, Newsquest and Midland News Association, responsible for the news operations in Bradford and Wolverhampton to invite them to join any potential legal action.

The BBC’s wider plans will also see a redeployment of resources to daily online news for 43 local areas, with the creation of 11 investigative reporting teams across the country and 130 additional roles across local news services. 

Gary Shipton, Deputy Editor In Chief of National World said: “It is outrageous for the BBC to decimate its arts coverage – with devastating cuts to its three English orchestras and closing down the BBC Singers choir – and its local radio reporting teams while spending the public’s hard earned licence fees on vanity projects which directly compete with respected local publishers.

“We are now seeking legal advice on the potential action we can take and of course we are talking to the main publishers in Bradford and Wolverhampton to see if they wish to work with us. Injuncting the BBC is one of the options we are considering.”

David Montgomery, National World’s Executive Chairman, writing in an op-ed over the weekend said that, “In real terms the BBC is trying to empower time-serving wonks in Portland Place, London, to direct news coverage in the likes of Bradford, Wolverhampton, Sunderland and Peterborough to replace resident and independent newspaper editors with decades of service to, and unique knowledge of their local communities.”

The BBC’s online news service, fuelled by extravagantly resourced superior technology, thousands of journalists and scores of advertising free websites, has systematically stripped audiences away from commercial publishers.

David Montgomery, Executive Chairman, National World