YOU cannot make the kind of cuts that BBC Scotland are having to make at the moment – which involve losing 35 jobs, including 17 in news and current affairs – without it having a devastating impact on output.
There will obviously be an initial impact on the quality of programmes that are made and the programming schedule, but it is also very important as it sends out a signal about the BBC’s whole attitude to Scotland at the moment.
Alex Salmond has already been making a lot of noises about a Scottish version of the BBC being run in an independent Scotland and this recent announcement about cutbacks in Scotland really plays into his hands and the idea that you would not have these kind of cuts if there was an independent BBC in Scotland.
It is very difficult for anyone to defend the status quo of broadcasting in Scotland when we are seeing these cuts.
Most people want to consume high quality programmes that are made in and relevant to Scotland. It is important to people’s sense of national identity.
These kind of cutbacks become almost symbolic as they chip away at the idea that we can maintain a high-quality media in Scotland. They make it look as if the BBC is simply dumbing down in Scotland.
• Dr Michael Higgins is a lecturer in media and journalism at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.
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