Scotland/Alba - BBC - More support for dedicated Scottish news service
CelticNews | June 3, 2008 at 01:12 pmby
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The third report from the Scottish Broadcasting Commission (SBC) set
up to investigate the state of television production and broadcasting
in Scotland, was published last week. The report, titled 'Interim
Report of Democratic Phase', is intended to 'define a way forward
for the industry' in Scotland.
The 'independent' investigation by the SBC was set up ahead of the
BBC Trust commissioned survey which is currently being undertaken
and will, among other things, examine how the BBC reports news on
its network in the Celtic countries. The SBC report found that less
than half of the people in Alba/Scotland were "fairly or very satisfied"
with how news was reported and that there was "considerable concern
that issues affecting the UK are not satisfactorily reported to people
in Scotland and that issues affecting Scotland specifically are not
satisfactorily reported to people living in the rest of the UK."
In their response to the survey, the BBC argued that they provided
viewers with a "real mix" of analysis and straight forward reporting.
However one criticism of the BBC that came from SBC Commission Chairman,
Blair Jenkins, suggested that the BBC's target of producing only 9%
of its network programming from Scotland between 2012 to 2016 was
inadequate. Praise however was singled out, among those surveyed,
for BBC Scotland's Gaelic language current affairs programme, Eòrpa.
The programme is watched by 190 000 people in Alba/Scotland, despite
the fact that there are only 60 000 Gaelic speakers, showing that
language was not a barrier to good broadcasting.
It was also reported that 54 per cent of viewers were confused about
whether items in the UK news were applicable to Scotland. Moreover
over half of respondents said that they now favoured replacing the
UK's blanket 6 o'clock news programme, which is aired throughout the
whole of the state, with a programme that mixes Scottish news with
UK and international reports. This compares with a study undertaken
5 years ago that showed that the majority of viewers wanted to retain
the current format.
Mr Jenkins said:
"Many of the people we heard from recorded their concerns over a lack
of breadth in reporting and a lack of depth both within programmes
and across the range of programming available."
It seems that Scottish viewers and listeners will not be completely
satisfied until Scottish news is brought to them wholly from Scotland.
After all, as one commentator said "we all want to know about the
wider world, but in Scotland we have a particular perspective, which,
however else one may care to describe it, is not English." At the
2007 AGM in Cymru/Wales, the Celtic League passed the following resolution:
"The Celtic League believes that the limited coverage of Cornish/Scottish/Welsh
politics by the BBC in London on its network news programmes demonstrates
that it is mostly interested in news items that only affect England.
This AGM calls on Cornwall County Council (and its successor), the
Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Senedd to campaign for the full
devolution of broadcasting to Cornwall, Scotland and Wales and calls
on Celtic League members to consider withdrawing their TV licence
payment in protest."
The League wrote to the BBC Trust late last year to air its concerns,
relating to the above resolution. In its response, Sir Michael Lyons,
Chair of the Trust, said:
"Concerns about issues such as a lack of representation of the nations
on network programmes, and insufficient focus on the news from the
devolved nations on network news, have been regularly raised to the
In September 2008 a final report will be produced by the SBC, which
will contain recommendations for the Scottish Government on the future
direction of broadcasting in Scotland. It is hoped that the SBC recommendations
to the Scottish Government will highlight the need for increasing
the amount of TV production and broadcasting programmes from Alba/Scotland
with a Scottish perspective.
To date the following reports have been produced by the SBC:
Interim Report on Economic Phase (January 2008):
Interim Report on Cultural Phase (March 2008):
The BBC Trust expects to receive Professor Anthony King's commissioned
report, about the BBC role in reporting news on its network, in early
See also related articles on broadcasting on Celtic News at:
J B Moffatt
Director of Information
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works
to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a
broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights
human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on
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