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News review is anti-competitive

Daily Business calls for ‘fair treatment’ from BBC

daily business screenshotDaily Business, the online news service based in Scotland, today calls on BBC Scotland to exercise fairer editorial and commercial judgement in its regular promotion of the country’s media.

In particular, BBC Radio Scotland’s daily ‘Review of the Papers’, a promotion of news media content, focuses entirely on a limited number of titles, essentially the main print publications.

It fails to acknowledge that all these titles are increasingly read online and are therefore competition for online-only publications such as Daily Business.

GMS does not include Daily Business in its review of the day’s news content. However, it cannot claim that its review is restricted to the “papers” as it also includes The Independent, mentioned last week on at least three occasions, even though it is no longer available in print.

It is the view of Daily Business that this daily review constitutes a regular promotion of the content of these titles and by continuing to focus on a narrow number of titles it is in breach of the BBC’s editorial guidelines. These state that reviews should be free from “plugging” and should be from “different suppliers”. They add that no “undue prominence” should be given to a product, brand or service.

By promoting some titles at the expense of others, the GMS Review of the Papers is giving this select group of media titles an unfair commercial advantage by drawing attention to these titles and driving readers to their online sites while the same news is available via other online sites such as Daily Business.

Daily Business Editor and Director Terry Murden said: “This is a serious issue of fair treatment and competition, both from an editorial and commercial standpoint.

“It is my view that the BBC’s review of the papers is not only outdated, by failing to reflect the way modern readers consume news, it is also providing a select number of titles with free daily promotion of their content, a lot of which has appeared in Daily Business 24 hours earlier.

“It is particularly galling that Good Morning Scotland promotes The Independent – a London-based online only news service, while ignoring Daily Business – a Scotland-based online only news service.

“I held one meeting on this matter with senior personnel at BBC Scotland HQ at Pacific Quay in November, which led me to believe this matter would be taken seriously. However, nothing has changed.

“I have since written twice to Donalda MacKinnon, the new head of BBC Scotland. I have yet to receive a reply.”

BBC editorial guidelines here:

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