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Friday, 15 December, 2000, 23:13 GMT
Scottish TV agrees to ITC ruling
By-election hustings
The Falkirk West by-election takes place next week
Scottish Television is set to screen a by-election special which only features opposition parties.

The station has agreed to the programme after the Independent Television Commission ruled it gave Labour an unfair advantage in the Falkirk West by-election.

Opposition parties complained about unfair coverage after a question and answer session with Prime Minister Tony Blair was screened two weeks before the Falkirk vote.

The commission upheld their complaints and ordered Scottish Television to give Labour's opponents a proportionate amount of air time.

Tony Blair
The programme with Mr Blair caused a storm
The station said it was continuing to review its options and may still seek a legal review of the ITC ruling.

Managing director of Scottish Television Sandy Ross said: "We strongly believe that we have acted in both a balanced and impartial manner.

"We consulted the ITC fully before broadcasting Ask the Prime Minister and we disagree with their subsequent ruling.

Formal review

"However, we are advised that the timescale dictated by the impending by-election would not allow for a satisfactory court action.

"In light of this, we have no option but to comply with the ITC's direction by broadcasting this programme.

"After the by-election, and in conjunction with our fellow UK broadcasters, we propose to institute a formal review of this ruling to establish clarity and certainty for political reporting in Scotland in the future."

Scottish Television said the programme would be pre-recorded in their Glasgow studios and the ITC and opposition parties had been fully consulted about the nature and content.

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See also:

15 Dec 00 | Scotland
Ruling has election 'repercussions'
14 Dec 00 | Scotland
Blair show not fair, says ITC
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