Political Coverage: Broadcasting

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons on 13th December 2018.

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Photo of John McNally John McNally Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment)

What recent discussions he has had with broadcasters on the provision of balanced political coverage.

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The regulation of broadcasters’ political coverage is a matter for Ofcom, the independent media regulator. Any televised material is subject to the provisions of Ofcom’s broadcasting code and Ofcom has strong rules in place to ensure the impartiality and accuracy of political coverage.

Photo of John McNally John McNally Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment)

I thank the Minister for that answer. Many of my Falkirk constituents complained to me that the now doomed Brexit debate would have placed two leaders in a head-to-head format, with no input from any of the devolved Administrations. At a time when politicians often complain that the public are not getting the full, balanced picture, does the Minister really believe that this helps to dispel or remove that belief?

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The debate that the hon. Gentleman referred to did not happen, but it was going to be just between the two main parties—that is true. With regard to Scotland, the BBC will be launching its Scotland channel next year to improve the coverage of Scottish life and Scottish affairs. As regards to impartiality, the code will guarantee impartiality across the United Kingdom.