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Former BBC national governor makes plea for more tailored TV news bulletins for Scotland

By Hamish Mackay

January 31, 2012 | 2 min read

A former BBC national governor for Scotland is calling for a new approach by the corporation to television news coverage in Scotland.

Writing in The Scotsman today, Jeremy Peat backs News at 6 and News at 10 programmes for Scotland, as well as giving viewers the option of switching over from English-only news items to watch a Scottish-focused section instead.

Peat also calls for more BBC devolution to Scotland, as he dismissed suggestions that the corporation’s controversial headquarters move from London to Manchester had resolved the issue.

He said the “case for more and more production out of London remains and the pressure for increased devolution of programming must continue”.

Peat also says that senior figures from the BBC, such as its chairman, national trustee and director for Scotland, should be summoned to appear before MSPs annually to account for broadcasting decisions north of the Border.

He writes: “Given this interest it might be helpful for the BBC chairman, the national trustee and the BBC director for Scotland to make themselves available for an open discussion with the appropriate Holyrood committee at least once each year and – on request – when key issues arise.”

He said the shake-up was needed to address the issue of “too high a percentage of time in the UK element of the bulletin” being devoted to areas such as health and education in England, as well suggesting that Scottish news items were repeated without any changes being made in later bulletins.

He said: “The nagging concern remains – especially when the time available for news stories across the regions of Scotland is severely constrained.

“On occasions there is a significant degree of duplication, with big stories from Scotland getting coverage in the period from 6 to 6:30pm or from 10 to 10:25pm, and then again, often in very similar terms.

“I am suggesting consideration of news programmes at six o’clock and/or 10 o’clock which work through a Scottish ‘lens’ – with emphasis and content suited to a primarily Scottish audience.”

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