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by Tom Freeman
27 August 2015
Nicola Sturgeon says BBC should be federalised

Nicola Sturgeon says BBC should be federalised

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will call for “bold and ambitious” reforms to the BBC in a speech Edinburgh’s Television Festival later today.

A federal structure should be adopted across the corporation, giving BBC Scotland more autonomy and a greater share of proceeds from the licence fee.

This could lead to a dedicated television channel and another Radio Scotland station, she will say.

“Scotland is an outward looking, internationalist country, intensely interested and active in the world around us - but we also want to see ourselves, our daily experiences and our national story, more fully reflected on our radios and television screens,” she is expected to say.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop told the broadcaster this morning reform would be an opportunity “to get some of the commissioning, some of the editorial issues devolved across the UK so the nations and regions can reflect a view that reflects the whole of the UK”.

The BBC is reviewing its own future and governance ahead of its new Royal Charter. It is expected to publish its own proposals in the next fortnight amid fears the UK Government intends to downsize it.

Yesterday UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale told the television festival audience the corporation had been exaggerating the extent of the proposed reforms.

“Who is talking about dismantling the BBC?” he said. “I’ve never suggested dismantling the BBC.”

But Scottish broadcaster and Thick of It writer Armando Iannucci said the Government was conducting an ideological attack on a British institution.

“What worries me is that A, politicians now intend to act on their extremely subjective opinions and B, they are increasingly falling into this trap of thinking that because they have won a parliamentary majority, they know how a majority of the public thinks.”

“It’s a dangerous path, a creeping imperial ambition that’s doing international harm to our stock,” he added.

Scottish Labour's Democracy spokesperson Claire Baker MSP said the Charter renewal process can't be "driven by political ideology or grievance".

"Charter Renewal must be about securing the best deal for the BBC both in Scotland and throughout the UK and the best deal for the licence fee payers. It is not, and never should be, about exerting undue political influence or dreaming of editorial control. This is as true for the SNP as it is for the Tories,” she said.

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