BBC accused of attempting to exclude GB News at the 11th hour

The BBC has been accused of a last-minute “ambush” intended to “damage” the Sunday launch of right-wing television channel GB News.

The company reportedly lobbied to prevent GB News from accessing footage of public events through a “pool” system operated by the country’s three major broadcasters.

The move would leave the new channel unable to broadcast many major events where there is room for only one camera.

A GB News spokesperson said: “This is a BBC ambush designed to undermine the launch of GB News and protect their dominance of news broadcasting in the UK. We will fight it. And our launch continues. ”

The move reignites a row that surfaced in 2010 when the Press Association, the national news agency, complained about not being able to access footage of ‘one-camera missions’ filmed as part of the UK Broadcast Pool. , which includes the BBC, Sky News and ITN.

At the time, the Commons culture committee urged the government to “ensure the right of access for the Press Association” alongside the pool camera at national events, “though pool members broadcasters are not prepared to make the content available to the press. Association at a reasonable cost. “

GB News claims the BBC has been pushing for its new rival not to be allowed to receive bundled footage of domestic events under a change in pool rules that would take effect from Monday – the first full day of broadcast of the new channel.

It is understood, however, that some members of the pool have expressed their willingness to license pooled material to GB News on “fair” terms. But GB News said it had not received any contact from any of the three broadcasters. He had signed an agreement with Reuters to access the clips. A source said the news agency was put “in the middle” of the dispute.

In 2010, Helen Boaden, then director of BBC News, described the UK Broadcast Pool as an “informal working arrangement whereby TV broadcasters combine their resources to cover (sometimes very expensive and international) events in a cost-effective manner.

“Each broadcaster contributes either the equipment or the funds, or the coverage of an event for the other members of the pool.

“The number of cameras allowed at events is at the discretion of the event organizers.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “This is a speculative story and we are not commenting on it.”

Sky News and ITN also declined to comment.

GB News presenters will include Neil, former ITN presenter Alastair Stewart, who will host a show at the weekend; and Simon McCoy, the former BBC and Sky News presenter, who will host an afternoon show with Alexandra Phillips, former Brexit Party MEP and party media official.

Meanwhile, Gloria de Piero – the former Labor MP and political editor of Good Morning Britain – will host a lunchtime show with Telegraph columnist Liam Halligan.

Neil said viewers will benefit from the additional competition that a new broadcaster offers to existing channels.

“We are in a competitive environment, they know that,” he said last week. “I suspect [our rival TV channels] will improve their game, that’s good, the only winner is the spectator. “

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