SNP AND PLAID CYMRU RESPOND TO ELECTION BROADCASTING STITCH UP

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For Immediate Release – Thursday 4th March 2010

PARTIES TO REVIEW SUPPORT FOR LICENSE FEE

The SNP / Plaid Cymru Westminster Parliamentary Group convened a meeting this morning (Thursday) to discuss General Election plans by broadcasters which will give unfair and unbalanced coverage to the London parties.

The meeting agreed to begin a review of SNP and Plaid Cymru broadcasting policy which has historically supported the continuation of the BBC licence fee. With the recent King Report highlighting the metropolitan editorial bias of the broadcasters and Scottish Broadcasting Commission proposals on greater control of broadcasting, SNP and Plaid parliamentarians have said the time has come to meet the issue head on.

Commenting after the meeting, Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Elfyn Llwyd MP said:

“The joint Plaid Cymru / SNP parliamentary group work closely in the UK Parliament, speaking up for the interests of the people of Wales and Scotland which are often ignored by the UK Government.

“This morning we met to discuss the unfair treatment of Welsh and Scottish license fee payers who are being denied the opportunity by the public broadcaster to hear from their respective national parties in these set
piece leaders debates.

“It is unacceptable for the people of Wales and Scotland to be short-changed in this way and for the leaders of London parties to be
given an additional 90 minutes of prime time exposure.

“Canada’s state broadcaster, CBC, manages to achieve balance across five parties and two languages. It is deeply disappointing the BBC currently lacks to ambition to even try.”

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP added:

“The broadcasters, in cahoots with the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour are attempting to exclude entire countries from these leaders debates.

“This debacle underlines why Scotland and Wales needs a strong voice at Westminster. A stitch up between the London-based BBC management and the London parties has disenfranchised voters in three countries.

“With the cavalier attitude of London establishment continuing, we must devolve broadcasting to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly – where the interests of Scottish and Welsh license payers will be a priority, not
an afterthought.”

ENDS

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