Columnist criticises Salmond’s TV plans for Scotland

PLANS presented by First Minister, Alex Salmond – to create a public service broadcaster for Scotland should the country vote for independence – have been criticised by The Scotsman columnist, Brian Wilson.

On Friday, Salmond told delegates at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival of plans that would effectively break up the BBC, were Scots to vote Yes at the upcoming independence referendum, in two years’ time.

He proposed the Scots public service broadcaster to collect the TV licence fee for itself and for BBC staff and infrastructure in Scotland to revert to the new entity. He referenced the Irish broadcaster, RTE, which Wilson goes on to ridicule.

He writes: “We will be invited to give up our stake in one of the world’s great public institutions, the BBC, in order to be like RTE.

“We will abandon public service broadcasting – founded by a Scot, disproportionately enhanced by Scots, staffed throughout its many outposts by Scots – in order to be like RTE. This is where madness leads us.

“When, I wonder, did Alex Salmond last study the RTE schedules before anointing it as a model for Scotland? He would have found that we already have our equivalent and it is called STV – funded by advertising, with a smattering of locally-generated programmes, but sustained by American imports and old movie libraries, though RTE does not have ITV’s back-up to leaven the mix.

“I have nothing against RTE, which doubtless does its best on a limited budget, but the idea that creating a parallel entity, in exchange for withdrawing from the BBC, might be in the interests of Scotland, Scottish audiences or Scottish broadcasters is preposterous.”

Pictured: Alex Salmond at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival, by Rob McDougall.