Nicola Sturgeon appeals to BBC over ending of live Covid broadcasts

Nicola Sturgeon has raised concerns that older and vulnerable Scots may miss out on developments in the response to Coronavirus if the BBC axes live coverage of her daily briefings.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 2:17 pm
Nicola Sturgeon has appealed to BBC chiefs
Nicola Sturgeon has appealed to BBC chiefs

The SNP leader urged BBC chiefs to consider the "unique circumstances" of the public health pandemic after it was announced the corporation will stop broadcasting the events live every lunchtime

It comes after opposition parties raised concerns that it gives Ms Sturgeon too much media exposure on the public broadcaster eight months out from a Holyrood election.

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The First Minister said it is a "matter for the BBC" what it chooses to broadcast at today’s briefing.

But she added: "These briefings and the televising of these briefings at a time like this have been a public service and the BBC is a public service broadcaster.

"The televisation of these briefings have been important in allowing me to communicate information and advice directly and also giving us the opportunity to explain the reasoning and the rationale behind the decisions we are taking and the things we are asking people to do.

"I've always thought during this that the more people can understand why they are being asked to restrict their lives in more ways, the more likely it is that they are going to comply with that. I think that principle generally has served Scotland well over the past few months.

"We are clearly now at a point where the virus is accelerating again. We're going into Winter so it becomes more important not less important over this next period to be able to continue that very direct communication."

Although the broadcasts will continue to be covered on Scottish Government online channels, Ms Sturgeon said this may bypass Scots who are less tech-savvy.

"That is older people who I think have really found the source of information important, I think it has been particularly important to people with disabilities, perhaps people with hearing impairments, we've had fantastic BSL translation throughout all of this.

"I know it was important in an earlier period and perhaps still is for people in the shielding category who are again older more disproportionately older, more vulnerable people.

She added: "We are in unique circumstances right now and the ability for me and my colleagues to communicate directly with the public has never been more important than it is right now."

The SNP leader added that she taken "great care to not stray into political territory" during the televised briefings.

"It's for the BBC – all I would ask is that they take all of that into account in the decisions that the take."

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