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Charter reference to Gaelic broadcasting welcomed

15 September 2016


MG ALBA today welcomes the express reference to Gaelic broadcasting set out in the new draft BBC Royal Charter while urging the BBC to build on the success of BBC ALBA with increased investment in the channel.

MG ALBA has urged the BBC to make a formal commitment to increasing the amount of original programming made for BBC ALBA from 4.5 hours per week to 10 hours – to achieve parity with the Welsh TV channel, S4C. At present MG ALBA commissions work from over 20 independent production companies based in Scotland.

The need for a stronger BBC commitment to Gaelic broadcasting has achieved widespread political and industry support, with motions in both the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments, questions of ministers, Select Committee endorsement , an online video campaign led by the author Peter May, an online petition and many, many letters to the BBC in support of MG ALBA’s request , including from Scotland’s Deputy First Minster.

BBC ALBA, which is operated by a partnership between the BBC and MG ALBA, the Gaelic Media Service, has attracted audiences of around 700,000 and enjoys widespread support. The performance of the channel exceeded all expectations of the BBC Trust which set the remit for the channel.

MG ALBA wants to reduce significantly the number of repeats on BBC ALBA.

Donald Campbell, MG ALBA Chief Executive said: ”This Charter and Framework Agreement set out an explicit commitment to Gaelic broadcasting and say the BBC should continue to support the provision of output in Gaelic in Scotland, and should provide a television service through its partnership with MG ALBA. We welcome this reference to Gaelic broadcasting and the Secretary of State’s statement that the UK Government wishes to ensure that BBC ALBA has the resources it needs.

“The next step for us is to secure increased BBC investment. We are clear that the BBC needs to significantly increase its commitment to the channel for BBC ALBA to thrive and strengthen its offering of original and creative programming to its audiences. We look forward to working with the BBC to achieve that and believe added investment will benefit the creative industries in Scotland as well as serving the needs of our audience.”