BBC needs to represent Scotland more

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Why do fewer than half of all Scots believe the BBC is good at representing their life in its coverage of news and current affairs (your report, 17 July)?

It may be that the introduction of Radio 4’s Jim Naughtie to Good Morning Scotland for part of the independence referendum campaign is part of an attempt to address that perception. But I feel the problem goes a bit deeper and raises the question of whether there is a case not just for a Scottish Six O’Clock News but also even a Newsnight Scotland that lasts 50 minutes.

It may well be more appealing than the existing arrangement based on an often 
untimely “split” at around 11pm Monday to Thursday.

The dissatisfaction many viewers feel is not based on a narrow parochialism: a desire for news from Scotland alone.

The current difficulties in the health trusts in England may strike a chord with many viewers north of the Border with recent experience of hospitals. There is interest, of course, but surely a Scottish news could provide a different but relevant perspective on the matter.

International affairs is an even more complicated area, but there still ought to be some editorial discretion at Pacific Quay as to how much is covered and how certain subjects are covered. Many viewers – not so much listeners – feel that the discretion is not always there in BBC Scotland’s coverage. It seems to be exercised solely from London and this affects the quality of some current affairs television programmes from a Scottish perspective. This problem is not so marked on radio, though.

I hope that Mr Naughtie’s venture north is not meant as a criticism of the “home” presenters who, on the whole, do a difficult job in quite difficult circumstances.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court

Glenrothes

You report all too briefly the finding that fewer than half of Scots think the BBC “is good at representing their life in its coverage of news and current affairs”.

The BBC Audience Council says the corporation should be more searching in comparing differences in policy in the different parts of the UK. Fat chance!

It seems obvious that BBC news programmes have been instructed in recent years to make clear when an item refers only to England, but doing this punctiliously merely illustrates that the so-called national news is simply the English news.

Scottish references go little beyond the Edinburgh Zoo pandas and Andy Murray. There is a serious issue here, because the underlying assumption is that all that goes on in England is of interest to Scotland, but the converse does not apply.

No doubt we shall be told that we do have our “regional” news programme.

Perhaps Unionists can tell us how this reflects that 
grand “equal partnership” they enthuse about.

Incidentally, Sky News is even more Anglocentric.

Alan Oliver

Battock Road

Brightons

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