BBC Annual Report: BBC Northern Ireland ‘delivering well for audiences’
The BBC’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2011/12, published today, set out the BBC’s main achievements for audiences in Northern Ireland over the last year.
Programming highlights this year included The Story of Ireland which transferred to BBC Two, a range of new drama projects, and extensive coverage of the Northern Ireland Assembly elections on TV and radio.
The Audience Council Northern Ireland – the independent advisory body to the Trust – also welcomed a boost to BBC Northern Ireland’s business and economics coverage with the creation of a new specialist Editor role and supporting team.
Northern Ireland continued to produce a range of programmes for the BBC across the UK, including Atlantis, Hominid, Digging for Britain and Secret Fortune, as well as regular editions of Panorama.
A review of BBC performance in Northern Ireland carried out by the Audience Council Northern Ireland – also published today – noted that while progress has been made toward a fuller and more authentic portrayal of Northern Ireland and its communities on the BBC’s UK-wide networks, more work still needs to be done.
The Council also found that there have been improvements in the BBC’s reporting of devolved policy matters within network news and current affairs, with much better explanations of policy differences around the UK.
While the Council welcomed improvements to DAB access in recent years, including the addition of new transmitters, members expressed concerns about continued significant gaps in DAB coverage in Northern Ireland, particularly for Radio Ulster/Foyle.
BBC Trustee for Northern Ireland Rotha Johnston said:
“This year the BBC in Northern Ireland has continued to deliver well for audiences, particularly in the context of a challenging financial climate.
“We have noted the issues that the Audience Council has raised with us and we will continue to work with the Executive to ensure that these are addressed.”
The Council has set out priorities for the Trust to consider in the coming year, including monitoring the impact on audiences of the BBC’s new strategy, Delivering Quality First.
Notes to Editors
The BBC’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2011/12 can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/annualreport
The Audience Council Northern Ireland Review can be found at:
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