The Scottish Daily Newspaper Society has added its voice to the growing number concerned with the BBC’s plans to provide online local video news.
Jim Raeburn, director of the SDNS which represents the country’s local and national titles, has formally written to the BBC Trust opposing the plans, saying they could “distort the market”.
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom is carrying out an enquiry into the BBC’s plans to spend £68m providing on-demand local video news content.
It is believed the BBC wants to employ six journalists for each of its six regions in Scotland.
Mr Raeburn, quoted on Glasgow daily The Herald, said: “It is extremely difficult to see how the cost of employing 36 video journalists in Scotland can be justified.
“It certainly would not be considered cost-effective in the private sector.
“There is a further concern that the enormous advantage of the BBC to cross-promote its online news services via radio and television would seriously distort the market by attracting users from the websites of regional and local newspapers with consequential damaging effects.
“We are deeply concerned about the potential adverse impact on regional and local newspapers, an impact not outweighed in our opinion by any value for money to licence fee payers or society as a whole.”