BBC management defend their actions after admitting to airing EVERY televised Covid briefing by the SNP.
After admitting to showing EVERY televised Covid briefing by the SNP, BBC management defends its conduct.
BBC executives justified airing Nicola Sturgeon’s daily coronavirus briefings after confirming that every news conference she conducted was televised.
Scottish Conservatives have criticised the broadcaster for giving the SNP free airtime. They claim that the Scottish government has used the coronavirus outbreak to host frequent televised briefings.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, has hosted Covid updates on a regular basis, giving her the opportunity to communicate the views of the SNP-led Scottish government.
Every news conference delivered by Ms Sturgeon was broadcast to the public, the BBC reported today before the Scottish Affairs Select Committee at Westminster.
“When we hear from the Scottish government that a briefing is planned, either the next day or later in the week, I’ll talk to my colleagues about whether we should broadcast and where we should broadcast,” said Gary Smith, BBC Scotland’s head of news and current affairs.
“We hold these meetings, we reach a consensus, and then we arrange for the briefings to be broadcast.”
“We’ve shown nearly all of the Scottish government’s Covid briefings on television.
“During the election, I believe there was one briefing that neither BBC One Scotland nor BBC Scotland broadcast.
“At least some of it was broadcast on television.”
The BBC’s chief executive defended the decision to broadcast every press conference on television, arguing that editorial debates were conducted prior to each press conference’s telecast to determine its news worth.
“We talk to the people who organize them in the Scottish government ahead of time about the main themes, just like my colleagues in network news talk about what will be in UK Government briefings,” he said.
Up to 500,000 people would tune in to hear Ms. Sturgeon provide an update on the latest Cover situation at the height of the pandemic.
Conservatives were upset when the BBC continued to broadcast the programs in the run-up to the Scottish parliament elections in May.
The decision was described as “shameful” by Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservatives’ leader at the time.
“Without SNP politicians using Covid-19 for political point scoring, public health officials could and should lead these briefings to communicate crucial public health messages,” he said.
“Letting the SNP continue with these briefings is a bad mistake that will have catastrophic consequences for Scotland’s democracy.”
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