UK Markets closed

Alba being ‘censored’ by broadcasters, bemoans Salmond

PA Scotland
·3-min read

Alex Salmond has claimed his Alba party is being censored by the BBC and STV.

The former first minister said the broadcasters “are simply failing in their democratic duty” because Alba has been excluded from the televised debates featuring leaders of parties who currently have MSPs at Holyrood.

Mr Salmond took umbrage with the media organisations after they did not cover an Alba campaign event in Edinburgh on Monday.

Ahead of another Alba campaign event in Stirling, he said: “We are clearly the story of the election and yet the doleful duo of Scottish broadcasting pretends we don’t exist.

“It is long past time for BBC Scotland and STV to mend their ways and to stop distorting the democratic process in Scotland.”

Scottish Parliamentary Elections 2021
Alba party leader Alex Salmond at a photocall on Calton Hill, Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The former SNP leader claimed half of election press coverage has featured stories about his new party but that the BBC and STV were “effectively censoring Alba”.

Mr Salmond said: “The BBC and STV operate as if they were in a self-isolated political bubble in which the initiative that everyone else is talking about doesn’t even appear on their radar.

“Not only does that involve excluding Alba from election debates but also dictates the daily mentions on all the main news bulletins.”

He added: “The launch of our Lothian campaign is a case in point. There were over 40 photographers and journalists in attendance, including three broadcasting journalists for radio and television. However, BBC Scotland and STV were nowhere to be seen.

“They are simply failing in their democratic duty.

“We have asked both BBC and STV repeatedly for an explanation of their undemocratic behaviour but have not yet even received the courtesy of full detail of their proposed election coverage over the next three weeks.”

Responding to his claims, an STV spokesman said: “STV’s election coverage has been, and will continue to be, balanced and fully in accordance with strict Ofcom guidelines.

“Alex Salmond has not been invited to participate in the STV leaders’ debate.

“We have offered the Alba Party the opportunity for Alex Salmond to take part in a one-to-one interview with Colin Mackay as part of our series of Scotland Tonight specials.”

Scottish Parliamentary Elections 2021
Alba party leader Alex Salmond was dismayed the BBC and STV did not attend a campaign event in Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr Salmond will launch Alba’s Mid Scotland and Fife campaign with Eva Comrie, Neale Hanvey MP and Jim Eadie in Stirling on Tuesday afternoon, rather than take part in the second televised leaders’ debate.

At the launch, Ms Comrie is expected to say: “Mid Scotland and Fife is in the centre of Scotland and is the key electoral battleground in every election.

“It is the bellwether which the rest of the country looks to.

“In Mid Scotland and Fife, 120,000 SNP list votes were wasted last time.

“Independence and SNP voters cannot allow their votes to be wasted in this election.

“That is why Alba is asking people to give their list vote to Alba to make both votes count for independence.”

A BBC Scotland spokeswoman said: “In our coverage of the election campaign, we are mindful of our regulatory and legal obligations and will continue to follow both our own BBC guidelines, and Ofcom’s guidance.”