Saturday, 13 March 2010
The Media Refusal to Allow Debate
From the SNP:
Following discussions in Edinburgh between the SNP and representatives from the BBC and from ITV regarding the unacceptable proposals for leaders debates which exclude Scotland and Scottish voters SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“The SNP has today met with both the BBC and ITV over their plans to exclude Scotland and Wales from the UK leaders debate.
“It remains deeply unsatisfactory that neither the BBC nor ITV are prepared to reopen the 90 minutes of debate or their closed shop deal with the three London parties.
“As a result it is clear that not just the interests of the SNP and Plaid Cymru, the parties of Government in both Scotland and Wales, but the interests of the Scottish people risk being sidelined at key points in this election campaign.
“The BBC are particularly culpable as a national broadcaster whose obligations to licence fee payers in Scotland should be as great as to those in England. There is real rage against the BBC machine that as a
national broadcaster it is behaving as the English Broadcasting Company and not serving the people of Scotland.
“The SNP remains willing to be extremely flexible to ensure the broadcasters can meet their obligations and that a fair and representative debate is available to viewers in Scotland and elsewhere.
“We have put a proposal to the BBC for an additional leaders debate involving the political leaders from the UK wide debates alongside the SNP and Plaid Cymru on constitutional issues, issues of concern to Scotland and Wales and the importance of Scottish and Welsh voters in determining the make up of the next UK Parliament .
“We await the BBC’s response to this idea before determining our next steps.
“As an example of how much thought has been given to the London parties, and how little to Scotland, ITV had not yet determined if they will broadcast the STV debate in the Borders – a move which could exclude a significant part of the Scottish population from the election. ITV have now indicated they will consider this issue.
“We have proposals from Sky News on how they can balance their output out with the three leaders debates which we are considering. The BBC made a number of suggestions and ITV has agreed to consider the issue of balance outwith the debates.
“However nothing as yet proposed by the broadcasters would compensate Scotland and Wales for the fact that the broadcasters are holding three debates in England, debating largely English issues in an election where they should reflect four nations not one.”