BBC Scotland should be held to account by a new Scottish Board, according to Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop. Scottish bosses at Pacific Quay should also be given greater control over commissioning and a fairer share of the licence fee.
In a document released ahead of the publication of the BBC’s Charter, the Scottish government has outlined several key changes it expects to be delivered by the BBC and UK Government.
• Introducing a service licence to ensure a fairer share of the license fee that is raised in Scotland is invested here.
• BBC Scotland to have greater control over its budget, and be given meaningful commissioning power, and to be held to account by a new Scottish Board.
• BBC Scotland being empowered to deliver more relevant editorial content for Scottish audiences.
• Appointing Ofcom as the external, independent regulator, and ensuring the body is adequately resourced.
• Managing the BBC Studios model carefully to ensure that Scotland’s creative industries can grow and be sustained as they deliver more high quality content for both BBC Scotland and the rest of the network.
Ms Hyslop said:
“Scotland has clear and distinct needs and it’s vital the requirements of our audiences, our production sector and those in our wider creative industries are met. The Scottish Government’s proposals lay out measures for increased transparency and accountability, which will help the Corporation listen to and reflect its audiences.
“A fairer share of the licence fee money raised in Scotland being spent in Scotland could also deliver up to an additional £100m of investment in our creative industries, supporting up to 1,500 jobs and contributing an additional £60m to the Scottish economy.
“Throughout this entire process we have sought to work constructively with the UK Government and the BBC, in order to shape a Charter that both reflects the reality of devolution. It’s vital that our proposals are considered in full. The people of Scotland expect no less.”
Publication of the Scottish government’s updated blueprint on the future of broadcasting north of the border follows recommendations made by the Smith Commission which gave Scotland a formal role in the process of Charter renewal. The BBC is coming under increasing pressure to modify its approach to Scotland to more accurately reflect the nation’s evolving devolved settlement.
The blueprint comes at a time when levels of trust in the BBC is falling north of the border. Many independence supporters claim a pro-Union culture within the broadcaster’s Scottish HQ in Glasgow distorts the station’s political output.
A new documentary soon to be released contains what the producers say is evidence of a sustained pro-Union agenda within the BBC as a whole during the last independence referendum.
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