‘Scottish Network’ proposal receives qualified support from the BBC

A RECOMMENDATION that a digital TV channel is set up – with public funding – dedicated to high-quality Scottish content has received qualified support from the BBC.

Yesterday, the BBC Trust – which represents the interests of BBC licence fee payers – said that both it and BBC management broadly welcomed the proposals put forward earlier this year by the Scottish Broadcasting Commission, set up by First Minister, Alex Salmond, to look at the future of Scottish broadcasting.

Its backing of the Commission’s overall report reflects initiatives already taking place at the BBC to, for instance, increase the output of UK-wide network programmes made in Scotland.

Regarding the specific recommendation of a ‘Scottish Network, it said it welcomed anything that would increase the variety of public service broadcasting, but that it could not support it if it “in any way diminished or undermined the BBC’s own public service output and its ability to deliver the public purposes”.

It added: “We look forward to hearing greater detail on the proposal for a Scottish Network PSB digital channel, including any analysis of audience needs and expectations, the audience proposition and editorial aspirations for the proposed channel. In particular, we would welcome further details on the strategic goals for the channel and the proposed governance arrangements.”

Were it to materialise, the Scottish Network would also become a major online presence.

The BBC Trust also said: “We welcome the Scottish Broadcasting Commission report which, for Scotland, coincides with the agenda that the Trust has been pursuing over a period of time.

“Some significant initiatives which the Trust had embarked on before the SBC was established have come to fruition within the time frame of the SBC’s review.

“We have worked with the SBC as it has conducted its review and will engage with the Scottish Government as it considers the SBC’s findings.

“The Trust recognises that the overall thrust of the SBC report is to strengthen the media sector and increase the range and quality of content available to audiences in Scotland. The Trust supports these objectives.”

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