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Griffin, Ken

Public service broadcasting, according to Dr Ken Griffin, occupies a critical role in Northern Irish society as a provider of non-sectarian news and current affairs coverage. According to Griffin, UTV, has particularly strong connection with its audience and has built an excellent reputation for independent journalism during the Troubles. However, ITV’s recent takeover of UTV has ‘introduced considerable uncertainty about the station’s future’ due to ‘conflicting business models’, with a risk of diminishing local TV output. BBC NI, on the other hand, while ‘consistently securing lower ratings than UTV’, is a ‘highly valuable television service’ and the only NI provider for speakers of the region’s two minority languages and providing a ‘far wider range of programming’ compared to UTV. The governance provisions within the White Paper, however, focused on boardroom numbers rather than nomination procedures, and thus ‘represent a significant threat to the BBC’s editorial independence.’