Saturday, November 17, 2007

Scottish Broadcasting Commission Using the Wrong Camera

According to the Scotsman this morning the Commission set up by the SNP looking into broadcasting will cost £500,000 – a Quango by another name? How, you might think, can it? Well apparently Blair Jenkins the man that is heading it is getting £387 per day - still that's a lot of days, even if the other members of the commission, which includes the former First Minister Henry McLeish, get slightly less. The other breaking news concerning the commission is that it will be held in camera - the one that means in secret - although they've said transcripts of what was said will be published. The justification for this secrecy is the fact that commercial sensitive information may be brought up by the broadcasters they speak to, it was Channel 4 yesterday. They also say that people may be "speaking frankly"

Well you kind of hope they would be speaking frankly and if they are to publish transcripts later then why not now? I cannot help thinking that this whole thing is going to tell us exactly want the people setting up the commission want to hear. That is, Scotland should be producing more programmes, the ones that they already do should be better and there should be a greater emphasis on the regions, and in particular, Scotland. I also suspect, given the make up of the committee, that a Scottish Six will be recommended. Blair Jenkins as already said there should be more drama made in Scotland.

Alex Salmond has previously said the major channels should be spending at least 9 per cent of their budget north of the Border. However in recent years the BBC's budget has been cut from 6 per cent to 3 per cent in Scotland. There's little doubt that there should be ore sent in Scotland but the equation being touted is a touch simplistic. It implies that Scots viewers would have to only watch programmes made in Scotland by the BBC. Many of the most popular programmes are made in other parts of the country, notably London, and the whole country watches them. I dread to think what kind of TV we'd have if the BBC becomes the SBC. It's not that I fear the type of programming per se it's just impossible for an SBC to do the all round job for the money, especially given the potential size of the audience. The fact is an equation based on population is just stupid. The way TV viewing is done these days is that people are watching a plethora of channels. The SNPs approach to this is one based upon the old telly order when there was just a BBC1 & 2 and a couple of TV channels. The world's moved on and so should they. It's tinkering politics, based on the concept of independence above all else.


Anonymous said...

But maybe then it will come to such conclusions that the world has moved on. But that then raises the question of why othyers would want to keep the "the old telly order" and centralised control of public broadcasting and funding.

Richard Havers said...

For me it's not so much about control as be careful not to lose the BBC. Whatever its faults it's still head and shoulders above what else is on offer.