• MySTV

Salmond: Scotland needs independent broadcaster for digital age

The First Minister told the Edinburgh TV festival that viewers were 'short-changed' by the existing set-up.

Close-up portrait image of First Minister Alex Salmond. Quality image
Deadline News

First Minister Alex Salmond has made a fresh call for the Scottish Government to be given control over broadcasting policy even if Scotland remains in the UK.

Speaking at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Mr Salmond said viewers were being "short-changed" by the current media set-up.

He claimed that devolving broadcasting powers to Edinburgh was the only way Scotland could keep pace with developments in the digital age.

Mr Salmond pointed to the success of Gaelic language Freeview service BBC Alba, which has an audience far greater than the Gaelic-speaking population, as proof that there was demand for distinctive Scottish programming.

He said: "Scotland's contribution to broadcasting is unparalleled. Television was invented by John Logie Baird and the very concept of public service broadcasting was shaped by Lord Reith.

"But Scottish viewers and TV production talent are today being short-changed.

"Since 2007 investment in training and network commissioning are up and BBC Alba - our national Gaelic language station - is a huge success, with an audience size last month nine times the number of people who speak Gaelic.

"So viewers are clearly voting with their remote controls for more Scottish content. Yet we do not have an English-language public service broadcasting channel of our own.

"The legislative framework that controls broadcasting in Scotland is based in Westminster and was put in place more than 50 years ago. Two years from the most important decision in Scotland for 300 years, it remains substantially unaltered.

"In an age of digital revolution, broadcasting policy has not even adapted to devolution."

The First Minister said a Scottish Digital Network had been endorsed unanimously by Holyrood, but ignored by the UK Government.

"The status quo is failing Scottish TV viewers and producers," he said. "Control of broadcasting policy must lie with Edinburgh rather than Westminster.

"In Scotland we have protected free education and the NHS, and we are enacting world-leading climate change legislation. We can also take responsibility for protecting and enhancing the values of public service broadcasting."

If Scotland were to become independent, Mr Salmond would break up the BBC and create a Scottish national broadcaster "based on the existing staff an assets of BBC Scotland".

"Further details on how that broadcaster would operate and its continuing relationship with the BBC will be published next year," he added.

The First Minister said there would be "continued access" for programme-makers from outside Scotland to supply content to the new broadcaster.

Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran MP claimed the SNP's plan for an independent broadcaster would "destabilise" the creative industries in Scotland.

She said: "Four years ago, Alex Salmond handpicked the man now running his independence campaign to chair a commission tasked with making the case for splitting up broadcasting. Even he couldn't deliver what the First Minister wanted and made the case for sticking with the BBC and a shared approach.

"Despite the weight of evidence that we're better working together with the BBC, Alex Salmond still wants to break up the BBC. It's about time that he concentrated on strengthening our creative industries rather than seeking to destabilise them."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.