Government Discussion Paper Imagines Broadcasting in an Independent Scotland

In an independent Scotland, staff at BBC Scotland might find themselves working for a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation, according to a discussion paper issued by the Scottish Government on how television might look in the future.

'Opportunities for Broadcasting' is one of a number of papers comprising a 'National Conversation' on Scotland's future. It looks at what television might be like under four different constitutional options: the status quo, implementation of the Calman Commission's proposal, devolution of further powers to Scotland, and full independence.

It suggests further devolution of powers could mean the Scottish national football team's World Cup and European Championship home qualifying matches being protected for free-to-air transmission.

Says Culture Minister, Michael Russell: “There is cross-party consensus on the clear need for an improvement in public service broadcasting in Scotland and I hope this will continue.

“Audiences in Scotland are not receiving the services they deserve. Clearly a Scottish Government with responsibility for broadcasting would be much better placed to take action to realise the potential of the Scottish broadcasting industry and overcome its current difficulties.”

Under current arrangements broadcasting is reserved to Westminster, although there is a dispensation allowing direct Scottish Government funding of Gaelic broadcaster, MG Alba.

Continues Russell: “The paper I have published is about having a completely open and honest discussion about the options for broadcasting under four constitutional options – and about how we can ensure viewers in Scotland have access to content that is relevant to their lives and interests.”

The Calman Commission made one recommendation on broadcasting – that Scottish Ministers should have responsibility for appointing the Scottish member of the BBC Trust – which represents the TV licence fee payer and replaced the BBC Board of Governors.

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