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BBC Scotland and STV content sharing agreement strained after claim that STV breached Cardinal Keith O'Brien interview embargo


By Stephen Lepitak, -

February 22, 2013 | 3 min read

The news resource sharing agreement between STV and BBC Scotland maybe strained as the BBC has claimed that its commercial rival at Pacific Quay broke an embargo to run an interview with Cardinal Keith O’Brien earlier today.

The embargo, which is also thought to have also included Sky News, was set for 5pm, however STV ran the interview, also filmed for the BBC, prior to that.

It is understood that the news department at BBC Scotland were angered by the breach, which it is understood has strained the agreementthat was made in June 2009.

As a result, the partnership may now be under threat, although with the resources all the more limited at BBC Scotland as a result of the 'Putting Quality First' cuts, such a measure would be seen as extreme.

The joint statement released by the two organisations at the time of the agreement said: "A final agreement in this area would have to ensure that the editorial integrity of both broadcasters would be preserved in any picture sharing arrangement.

"Exclusive stories and features will not be shared, and plurality or distinctiveness of news provision will not be compromised by any such agreement."

A spokesperson for BBC Scotland told The Drum moved to quell the issue: "BBC Scotland recorded a pooled interview to be used by all broadcasters under embargo. However, stv breached the embargo, running the interview ahead of the agreed time for release. BBC Scotland have made representations to the stv newsroom about this situation."

They added however that "The partnership which covers a variety of areas including the sharing of archive material and training programmes, remains intact."

Over the alleged breach of embargo, a spokesperson for STV contracted by the BBC when it told The Drum that: "No embargo was broken."

At the time of writing The Drum was awaiting clarification from the Scottish Catholic Church over whether an embargo of 5pm was definitely set.

It is of note that BBC Scotland placed the interview, in which the Cardinal is said to have called on the Catholic church to allow priests to marry, at 16:10, while STV ran it at 15:31.


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