Opportunities for Broadcasting - Taking forward our National Conversation
- Broadcasting is currently a reserved matter, with key decisions being taken by the UK Government at Westminster.
- One consequence of this is that Scottish broadcasting has been marginalised within the UK framework.
- A key challenge, in establishing new operational arrangements for broadcasting in Scotland, would be to retain the best elements of the existing UK broadcasting system while allowing for a greater level of programming which reflects Scottish life.
- The Calman Commission recommended that Scottish Ministers, rather than UK Ministers, should appoint the Scottish member of the BBC Trust. This change could be implemented immediately.
- Scottish Ministers could also be given responsibility for approving the appointment of board members of MG Alba.
Options for devolution
- There is scope to retain the major UK-wide broadcasting institutions while devolving greater powers to Scottish Ministers.
- Other countries in Europe (i.e. Spain and Germany) have devolved a greater level of responsibility for broadcasting than the UK Government
- There are a number of measures which could be adopted to strengthen accountability for broadcasting in Scotland - in particular granting the Scottish Government the power to establish public service broadcasting bodies, such as a Scottish Digital Network.
Further opportunities under independence
- Greater autonomy in broadcasting policy would give Scotland an opportunity to set priorities which are specifically attuned to the needs of viewers in Scotland.
- It is envisaged that the existing assets and staff of BBC Scotland would form the basis of a Scottish national broadcaster.
- We would be able to add national events which are prioritised and broadcast on free-to-air television. For example, Scotland's football qualifiers for the World Cup and European Championship are currently only available on satellite television, but a Government of an independent Scotland could make them available to all fans on terrestrial television.
Page updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2009