MG ALBA appeals for '˜firm commitment' to programme making

MG ALBA has welcomed the commitment to Gaelic broadcasting in Scotland published in the White Paper on the BBC Royal Charter and appealed for a firm commitment to be made in the renewed Charter to enable BBC ALBA to build on its success.

The White Paper, which will form the basis of the Charter to be renewed prior to the end of 2016, states that the BBC should maintain its commitment to Gaelic language broadcasting through its partnership with MG ALBA.

MG ALBA (The Gaelic Media Service), which operates BBC ALBA in partnership with BBC Scotland, said the pledge was a welcome step in recognising BBC ALBA’s achievements but a major challenge lay ahead in securing its future.

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The BBC currently contributes around 4.5 hours of original programming per week to BBC ALBA. In comparison, it is required by Parliament to contribute 10 hours per week of original programming to S4C, the Welsh language channel.

MG ALBA is seeking the same 10 hour commitment to be enshrined as part of the charter review process.

Maggie Cunningham, chair of MG ALBA, said: “The value of Gaelic language broadcasting has been rightly recognised but if BBC ALBA – which is now firmly part of the Scottish broadcasting landscape – is to progress and prosper we need more original programming.

“There is widespread recognition across the political spectrum that the creative industries in Scotland will get a significant shot in the arm from us producing more programmes.

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“BBC ALBA has been an outstanding success but audience deserves a more complete service and that means fewer repeats and more original programming.

“In the coming months and weeks we will continue to strive to build support for an unequivocal commitment to be made to a minimum number of hours of programming for BBC ALBA and we urge all interested parties to support this aspiration.

“We remain extremely grateful for the support we have received from the BBC, Scottish and UK Governments and want to take the success of BBC ALBA to the next level.”