NO Scottish Six from the BBC but a whole new Scottish Channel says the man from London, Director General Tony Hall.
Some will see this as a genuine attempt to square the circle between a lack of Scottish content (or an over abundance of English content) on the existing BBC Six O’Clock News and a more in-depth Scottish perspective on the news, both local and international .
Scotland contributes about £320 million to the BBC coffers (2015-16) each year yet as little as 55 per cent of this is returned via investment in programming, whereas Wales receives 95 per cent (2015-16) back from the London bosses.
Loading article content
Tony Hall is generously giving us £20 million of our own money back to finance this new channel, including some crumbs for BBC Alba.
Some will see this as a step in the right direction, a recognition of the need for a more Scottish approach to a nation with increasing political and cultural differences from the UK. Others will see it as the barest minimum, reluctantly wrung from the hands of a state broadcaster that continues to deny Scotland a reasonable share of broadcasting. Catalonia has had its own separate TV channel since 1983 and since and has added a children’s channel, a sports channel and a channel broadcasting to Catalans abroad.
In comparison the BBC response to demand in Scotland has been underwhelming, but oh so predictable .
James Mills, Johnstone
THE proposed new BBC Scotland is coming years too late but is very welcome for all that. However, we must not be lulled into believing that suddenly everything is going to be all right from now on.
It is very late, and the announcement that this is the largest investment in Scottish broadcasting for a generation should be seen as a damning indictment of the contempt with which Scottish needs have been ignored by the BBC in London, as well as the mis-appropriation of the money we have spent on our licence fee for decades. It is not simply a “gift” from Auntie.
Whether or not the Scottish Nine will prove to be a success waits to be seen. One thing it must not be allowed to become is the 6:30 news writ large. To begin with, we need an admission from the BBC that it has been biased in political reporting, especially since the start of the first referendum campaign. Also, up to the present time sport has always been reported from an English perspective.
Hopefully, lack of bias will be re-established. We will wait for the evidence of that.
Editorial decisions must be open to scrutiny, with penalties applicable to any bias short of the occasional genuine mistake. It would be reasonable to invite any organisation to appoint a scrutineer to attend editorial meetings. This would not need to be just political organisations, but also churches, educational groups, social organisations and the likes. Anyone with an interest, either way, in what is being presented.
I appreciate this is a simple idea made up “on the hoof” but it must be seriously considered.
Just because it may create a number of new difficulties of their own, it should not be dismissed out of turn. The BBC and the London government have created this problem. Now they must take advice from interested parties to do what is necessary to put it right.
Malcolm Brown, Fife
AM I the only one to smell an even larger, more devious rodent than the ones already mentioned on your letters page? This decision about a 9pm news slot in an insignificant, part-time Scottish channel is not just about heading off demand for a Scottish Six or keeping control of any future independence propaganda, but is, I believe, specifically designed to fail.
Our demand is for a truly Scottish view of world affairs and matters affecting the whole UK, as well as better, more in-depth and varied reporting of matters Scottish by our own excellent reporters, rather than a programme where English football can often take precedence over an international crisis and, as a couple of nights ago, the majority of the time is spent on reporting concerns affecting only England.
Six pm is a time in most folk’s lives when they are not yet settled to an evening watching favourite programmes and the news can be listened to while doing other things, such as eating a meal, and so is ideal for catching up. Those who would like a Scottish Six do not want an extra dose of news, but a replacement.
By allocating a 9pm slot for this new programme, the BBC is well aware that at that time people have settled down to watch a favourite programme.
Do they expect them to give up, for example, BBC One’s new serial SS-GB, or Death in Paradise, or Only Connect to watch a Scottish news programme, as well as or instead of the Six o’clock News?
This deliberate clash of programmes will result in viewing numbers which, a year or so after introduction, will allow the BBC to claim that there is no appetite for it and to scrap the whole project.
Back to square one, as planned – all news controlled from London.
L McGregor, Falkirk
ANENT the current stooshie about broadcasting in Scotland, very little attention has been paid to the situation here in the Scottish Borders where we have been afflicted with ITV from Newcastle. Should the proposed new STV news come about, it will not be heard here.
Edith Davidson, via email
THE death has been announced in the United States of well-known political activist Norma McCorvey.
It was McCorvey who under the pseudonym of Jane Roe won the famous Roe v Wade case on abortion in the Supreme Court in Washington DC in 1973.
Although the Supreme Court ruling came several years after David Steele’s 1967 Abortion Law Reform Act in the UK it was much more influential in establishing abortion as a cultural norm in the English speaking world in particular.
McCorvey was very influenced by a Southern Baptist preacher whom she befriended and eventually became an anti-abortion activist, writing a best-selling book entitled I am Roe.
In recent years she became a Catholic and like millions of Christians in the USA welcomed the election of a pro-life President to the White House.
Alan Clayton, Strachur, Argyll