Media owners in the UK afraid of BBC wiping out local papers

Media owners in the UK have said that the BBC could obliterate competition in the local newspaper space, if not controlled.

The media quoted Carolyn McCall, CEO of the Guardian Media Group as saying that the Manchester Evening News, which is also owned by her company, would not be able to match the spending proposed by the BBC on local news sites during the current economic situation.

Similarly, the Trinity Mirror's CEO Sly Bailey was also reported to have termed the BBC as "too big and unwieldy", and as having said that the corporation's plan to introduce video to local websites could sound the death knell for regional publications.

The CEOs, who runs the Guardian and the Daily Mirror, were addressing members of the British parliament, part of a House of Commons select committee.

The BBC has decided to spend around £68 million to launch video on local websites. A number of media groups are now up in arms against the corporation's plan, saying that it would draw ''eyeballs'' away from local publications.

McCall said that her regional publication, the Manchester Evening News, was already engaged in a battle for survival, while speaking to members of parliament on the Culture Select Committee. McCall also said that it would be ''unacceptable'' in a democracy to have ''a strong BBC and nothing else'' for local news.