MG ALBA has requested an urgent review of Gaelic broadcasting whilst launching its 2018-19 Annual Report.
The organisation that operates Scotland’s Gaelic-language television channel in partnership with the BBC has called upon the BBC, Ofcom, the Scottish Government and the UK government to engage in a dialogue aimed at reaching a new settlement for Gaelic broadcasting.
Currently, BBC ALBA is severely challenged by a 75% repeat rate, whilst 50% is the expected limit for BBC Scotland; and is available only in standard definition (SD) on television.
Writing in his Chair’s Message, Allan MacDonald states that “there is no acceptable basis for Gaelic speaking viewers to have a second-class service.”
MG ALBA has called upon its BBC partner to ensure that BBC ALBA enjoys the same opportunity and quality of provision as the new channel and the other minority language services of the UK.
In 2017, the BBC publicly announced up to 100 hours of additional programmes per year for BBC ALBA coming in the wake of the new BBC Scotland channel investment.
Allan MacDonald has sought assurances on the delivery of this ambition: “We will encourage the BBC to be open and transparent about the principles and protocol on which it bases its allocation of resources to Gaelic broadcasting, and how it ensures parity of approach between the indigenous minority languages which are part of its overall cultural responsibility across the UK.”
BBC ALBA celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and announced some momentous achievements, including the launch of its award-winning sketch comedy show FUNC and in establishing itself as the Home of Women’s Sport in Scotland.