MSPs clash over proposed BBC shake-up

The Scottish Government was warned not to politicise the BBC charter renewal process. Picture: John Devlin
The Scottish Government was warned not to politicise the BBC charter renewal process. Picture: John Devlin
0
Have your say

The Scottish government was warned that a proposed shake-up of the BBC should not “be about meeting the aim of constitutional change” as ministers were accused of politicising” the charter renewal process for the broadcaster.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said she supported the independence of the BBC during a Holyrood debate on the Scottish Government’s vision for public service broadcasting in Scotland.

Ms Hyslop told MSPs the BBC must “catch up with the significant changes that we have seen in the political structure of the UK”.

A Scottish government’s report, issued last week, said greater Scottish representation on the BBC “cannot be resisted” amid widespread public dissatisfaction and insufficiencies identified during the independence referendum.

The SNP administration wants broadcasting policy to be fully devolved to Holyrood and sees charter renewal as a stepping-stone towards this ambition.

However, Claire Baker, Labour’s spokeswoman for democracy, said this “misinterprets the satisfaction ratings to justify a political position”.

She added: “Charter renewal must not be about advancing the political agenda of the Scottish Government or the SNP.

“Changes to BBC governance and programming should not be about meeting the aim of constitutional change and the Scottish Government policy paper comes dangerously close to politicising the BBC Charter process.”