Scottish Six can work and critics need to get with the programme

SCOTLAND'S ultra unionist Tories looked a bit foolish when they sneered at plans for a “Scottish Six” news programme.

A parliamentary committee at Westminster, dominated by their own Tory colleagues, said the time had come for a TV news show that combined Scottish, International and UK news. And critically, they said it should all be edited from Scotland.

The Culture Media and Sport Committee stated the obvious when it pointed out that there was enough content to fill the show after 17 years of devolution.

But a sour statement from the Scottish Tories suggested this would be seen by the SNP as a chance to “shove propaganda down the throats of a dinner-time viewing public north of the border.”

That statement is wrong on so many levels.

The BBC is not controlled by the SNP in Scotland. Broadcast media is regulated by the Westminster Government.

Television stations have editorial independence, but ultimately it is UK government ministers who design the framework in which they operate, including the BBC’s license fee level.

Indeed many SNP supporters, particularly during the referendum, were critical of the BBC’s output.

One senior media academic found that the Yes side received far more negative coverage, while assertions from the No camp, including the UK government, were accepted at face value.

This is still considerable mistrust of the BBC in Scotland - any Scottish Six programme will be expected to remain completely impartial.

Whatever your political view, the idea that journalists like Brian Taylor or Gordon Brewer could be mouthpieces of the Scottish Government is quite preposterous.

Read the rest of my column here.


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