Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 13:26 UK

'Lack of depth' in broadcasting

camera in studio

There are concerns about a lack of depth, breadth and context in broadcast journalism in Scotland, according to the Scottish Broadcasting Commission.

The commission has taken evidence from academics, politicians, broadcasters and the public on the democratic importance of broadcasting.

The importance of choice in news and current affairs services was one of its key findings.

The BBC said it offered a "real mix" of analysis and straightforward reporting.

The commission was set up last year to examine the role and future of broadcasting in Scotland.

It said a recent public attitudes survey suggested that almost half of respondents were "fairly or very satisfied" with the way Scotland was reported in UK television news.

But the commission said there was "considerable concern that issues affecting the UK are not satisfactorily reported to people in Scotland and that issues affecting Scotland specifically are not satisfactorily reported to people living in the rest of the UK".


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It said that at each of the public events it held, the BBC programme Eorpa was raised as an example of "a positive, well-respected programme". Those praising the programme included non-Gaelic speakers.

The commission also argued that public opinion seemed to favour a change to the structure of early evening television news to one integrated programme from Scotland covering international, UK and Scottish news.

It said both the BBC and SMG plc had expressed an intention to expand their "local" video news provision, especially online.

But the commission said it was concerned that such broadband initiatives would currently be unavailable to almost half the population of Scotland.

Commenting on the findings, commission chairman Blair Jenkins said: "Many of the people we heard from recorded their concerns over a lack of breadth in reporting and a lack of depth both within programmes and across the range of programming available.

"The balance and accuracy of broadcast journalism was also reported to us as being essential and the commission was concerned that our recent public attitudes survey indicated that more than half of those surveyed did not think it was always clear in UK news programmes whether reports applied to Scotland or not."

The SBC is due to publish its final report in September.

A BBC Scotland spokesman said: "By its very nature, news is often event-driven and reactive.

"However, we believe we offer a real mix of analysis and comment along with straightforward reporting through our many outlets for audiences across TV, radio and online."

The spokesman referred to a forthcoming report from the BBC Trust which will look at how UK-wide news programmes reflect the devolved nations.

"It's right that we wait for the findings of that report before commenting further," he said.

"We are, however, absolutely committed to investing in high quality programming and journalism content for UK wide and Scotland specific audiences. "

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