Media in the Press 4.3.10

Both the BBC and STV are in the sights of today's newspapers, with the latter the subject of coverage right across the press, following yesterday's announcement that broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, has launched an investigation into alleged influencing of programming on STV by the Scottish Government. 

In the court of media opinion, some have already rushed to judgement.

Both the Scottish Daily Mail (page 5) and Scottish Daily Express (page 8) begin with much the same angle. Begins the Mail’s Alan Roden, Scottish political reporter: “The television watchdog is to investigate Alex Salmond’s decision to spend £150,000 on sponsoring ‘Tartan TV’ shows sympathetic to the nationalist cause.

“Ministers colluded with broadcaster STV to help fund the documentaries, which were screened in place of hit UK network shows such as The Bill, Doc Martin and Midsomer Murders.”

It references Made in Scotland, Scotland Revealed and The Greatest Scot.

Meanwhile, in the Express, Scottish political reporter, Paul Gilbride, begins: “Television watchdogs yesterday began an inquiry into claims Alex Salmond used £150,000 of taxpayers’ money to influence STV in screening more Scottish shows.”

Under the headline, ‘Salmond ‘Telly Control’ Probe’, The Scottish Sun’s take (on page 2) begins: “Broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom, is probing claims Alex Salmond’s government may have influenced STV while sponsoring show.”

The Scotsman devotes all its page 2 to the story, with a side panel dedicated to a timeline of the supposed cosy relationship.

Meanwhile, Scottish Sun columnist, Bill Leckie, on page 11, is asking why the BBC is planning to chop its Asian Network and 6 Music radio stations, as part of a massive budget cutback.

He writes: “I mean, there are far more Asians than Gaelic speakers yet money is constantly hurled at Gaelic programming. Why?

“And as for the impending loss of 6 Music…well, words fail.”

Praising 6 Music’s commitment to new music, he continues: “It’s a schedule full of life, intelligence and humour. Yet some bean-counter in some office somewhere decides that, like Asian programming, all of this doesn’t pay for itself, so they have to go.

“While aimless, pointless, wallpaper shows like Cash In The Attic, Cash In The Celebrity Attic and The One Show go on and on.”

The Scotsman (page 20) reports celebrities throwing their weight behind a campaign to save 6 Music.

Back to the Sun, and on page 12, there’s an exclusive by deputy TV editor, Leigh Holmwood, claiming: “The BBC dished out 275 free tickets for top sporting events last year to wealthy celebrities.”

The STV story is also a page 2 tale in the Daily Record, which features an appeal – on page 33 – by Scots film director, Kenny Glenaan, is hoping to find another aspiring star before he starts filming his next project, in America.

Glenaan – whose movie, Summer, starring Robert Carlyle, won Best Film and Best Director at the Scottish BAFTAs two years ago – is said to have seen 100 young male hopefuls, but with none ‘fitting the bill’.

So, says writer, Rick Fulton, he has turned to the Daily Record, in his search for ‘Scotland’s next star’.

Other media news:

* Broadcaster, Michael Parkinson, wins £25,000 damages from the Daily Mail following a report claiming he had lied about his family background – The Scotsman, page 26.

* ITV upbeat as it posts a pre-tax profit of £25 million for last year, compared to a near £3 billion loss the year before -The Scotsman, business supplement, page 2. But in a lengthy Comment piece by Martin Flanagan, reports that ITV’s share price hardly changed on the news. He writes: “Plainly, the stock market judges that the new management at the ITV helm, chairman Archie Norman and chief executive-designate Adam Crozier, will have their work cut out transforming the company against an unhelpful backcloth.”