Culture secretary: BBC is out of touch, failing viewers and not reflective of Scotland


Original post from Herald Scotland

‘……………By Tom Gordon, Martin Williams

MSP FIONA HYSLOP AT THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT, EDINBURGHPHOTO STEWART ATTWOOD
MSP FIONA HYSLOP AT THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT, EDINBURGH PHOTO STEWART ATTWOOD

THE BBC fails to satisfy audiences and doesn’t reflect Scotland, the culture secretary said yesterday.

During a debate on BBC charter renewal, Fiona Hyslop called for a “a bold and radical alternative to the out of touch structure and decision making of the BBC”.

There were also calls for Scotland to be given control of broadcasting, as well as the creation of a Scottish Six O’Clock News.

Former culture minister Linda Fabiani said: “Of course Scotland should control its own broadcasting, of course Scotland should be an independent nation.

“We have to move forward in every way we possibly can to get Scotland to achieve that independence and broadcasting is crucial to that, we recognised that in 2007 when we became a minority government.”

However, Hyslop said the Tory government in London “ain’t listening” on the issue.

She added: “The BBC is barely playing catch up with devolution, let alone leading from the front, and they know it. Their news and current affairs does not satisfy the audience, with over 50 per cent saying it doesn’t reflect Scotland properly.

“We propose a federal structure for the BBC, for governance, editorial and management and commissioning, internal transfers of decision making and budgets can and should happen.

“Scotland needs a better service from the BBC, Scotland demands a better service from the BBC and Scotland must have a better service from the BBC.”

East Dunbartonshire MP John Nicolson, a former BBC presenter, said the once-a-decade charter renewal process was a “golden opportunity…to change the BBC”, adding: “We have a chance to shape it, and we’re demanding some changes.

“We want to see the full devolution of broadcasting to Scotland, we need more investment, we need more jobs, we need a separate Scottish six o’clock news.”

Edinburgh activist Doug Thomson said the BBC was at the heart of much of civic life, but “in recent times the Beeb has lost its way” and remained “London-centric, metropolitan and lacking in accountability to the people of Scotland”.

He said: “The BBC isn’t broken but it isn’t fit for purpose, and instead needs to be rehabilitated. It is time for Scotland to have full control over broadcasting.”

The debate came a day after an angry fringe meeting in Aberdeen at which delegates repeatedly complained of BBC bias during the referendum, and walked out complaining that BBC Scotland commissioning editor Ewan Angus hadn’t answered their questions.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Herald has learned that the complaint that former BBC political editor Nick Robinson was biased in his news reports over a spat with then First Minister Alex Salmond at an independence referendum press conference has been finally quashed by the broadcaster’s governing body.

The BBC’s Glasgow headquarters was besieged by up to 4,000 Yes Scotland supporters amid claims that the journalist had been biased in favour of the No campaign and had “heckled” Salmond during the press conference on September 11, last year.

The BBC Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) has concluded that Robinson’s reports of the conference on News at Six and News at Ten on BBC One which said Salmond did not answer a question put to him relating to tax implications of a possible relocation of RBS to London in the event of a Yes vote gave an inaccurate impression but did not amount to an intentional attempt to mislead and that there was no bias.

But complainers appealed that stance, saying the reports ignored Salmond’s seven minute response to Robinson and that footage was edited in a way that was biased against the former First Minister.

A review by trustees over one complaint that the reports went further than just being misleading has been thrown out and the BBC Trust has confirmed no further action is being taken on the complaints.

The complaint said that it went to the “very heart of BBC impartiality and balanced reporting and it is important if the BBC’s integrity is to be maintained”.

But the BBC Trust’s Complaints and Appeals Board panel agreed that a final appeal was “out of time” as it came beyond a 20 working day period stipulated in the complaints procedure and it would be a “disproportionate use of resources” for the ECU and the trust committee to consider the matter again.

“The panel did not consider that it was appropriate, proportionate or cost effective to take this matter on appeal as it did not raise a matter of substance and it did not have a reasonable prospect of success,” said a report on the review.  …………..’

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