And the answer is that it is going well. Most people are well aware of the digital switchover and are prepared for it. Further information can be found at :Digital UK : http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/ BBC Help Scheme : http://www.helpscheme.co.uk/
Last year, along with Alan Cowie of Digital UK,I held digital switchover surgeries at sheltered housing lounges across the West End – these were extremely well attended and I am holding two further surgeries at Sinderins Court and the Lime Street sheltered lounge next month – this time with Colin Scott from the Help Scheme – details to follow!
Awfully good …
“I am aware of this tree and it is programmed along with similar others in the area to be removed tomorrow morning. The main reason for the time taken is the actual high number of damaged trees in last week’s wind when we had multiple trees blown against school buildings, houses and roads and we had to prioritise a programme of works, which is progressing well.”
The future of 6 Music is a decision for the BBC Trust to make after they have consulted with licence fee payers. Whatever decision is made, the Liberal Democrats are adamant that it must be in line with the BBC’s purpose: to make programmes that are distinctive, high quality, and of good value. I am unconvinced that shutting 6 Music would contribute to these goals.
I have had helpful feedback from Arqiva’s marketing manager, who confirms that the recent BBC1 reception issues are resolved. He further indicates :“I have spoken with Digital UK and they have sent me the link below which takes you to a document on the Ofcom website. In section 7 the document lays out the terms for notifying viewers: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/transition/transition.pdf.”
Given the quote by the BBC in last night’s Tele :“A spokeswoman for the BBC in Scotland said there was not a transmitter problem, but she was unable to shed any more light on the cause of the interference”
it was interesting to hear from a constituent who lives just south of Perth Road and who, having phoned the BBC was told there were engineering works on the transmitter taking place!
“Good showing by Nicol Stephen, I thought – the Scottish LibDems conference liked what they heard”
Attended Logie Residents’ Association on Wednesday evening. The group is looking to organise a survey of residents in the Logie area early in the New Year to get their views on local issues and gauge support for continuing Association activity.
Scotland Live, Radio Scotland, May 2 2007
I have been asked to look into your complaint about the eve of poll election feature on Scotland Live on 2 May. I’m sorry that you have been unhappy with the earlier response that you have received from the BBC, and I hope I can deal with your concerns here.
We have now had an opportunity to listen to the item in question and we have been in contact with the programme makers in Scotland. We have also reviewed the previous correspondence between you and the BBC.
You may be aware that it is the role of the ECU to investigate complaints to determine if there has been a serious breach of the standards set out in the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines. You can find these atwww.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines.
The item in question was a programme made up of series of reports about the campaigning activities of the various parties contesting the Dundee West constituency in the elections to the Scottish Parliament. You complained that the BBC failed to include the Liberal Democrats in the piece and that this was clear bias, whether intentional or not.
As you know, the intention was to carry pieces from each of the main parties which would feature activists on the ground in the final run-up to polling day. The BBC had told the parties that parliamentary election candidates would not be interviewed for the piece. The parties were not told, however, that council candidates would not be interviewed either. In the event, the Liberal Democrat interviewees, including yourself, were both council candidates and the BBC decided at a very late stage that these could not be used. You are quite right, and Phil Wells has already conceded, that this led to serious imbalance in the item. This was compounded by the fact that a Conservative interviewee who was included turned out to have been a council candidate as well, though this was not realised by anyone at the BBC until the item had been broadcast.
There is no dispute that to broadcast the item in this form was a serious mistake and a serious breach of the standards set out in the BBC guidelines on broadcasting during elections. These say:
We should make, and be able to defend, our editorial decisions on the basis that they are reasonable and carefully and impartially reached. To achieve this we must ensure that:
You have also complained, however, that you have been given “absolutely no reassurances as to how this sort of error will be avoided in future”. We put this to the programme team, and this is the reply we received:
The programme editor spoke to everyone involved in the piece – radio reporters, the producer and the senior broadcast journalist with responsibility for planning. He reiterated the absolute importance of checking the credentials of people appearing on the programme, both when setting people up ahead of time and when meeting them on the day. This is particularly true during election time. He also spoke to the whole programme team at its weekly team meeting to drive the message home. In the future, as editor of the programme, he will monitor any e-mail or interview request which goes to a political party. This should prevent something like this happening again.
This, it seems to me, is the proper response to the errors which were made and should be sufficient to ensure that this or similar errors are not repeated. In the circumstances, I feel that the actions already taken mean that this aspect of your complaint has also been resolved. It would, plainly, have been better to have notified you at the time of what had been done, and I’m sorry that this did not happen, but I’m afraid that a procedural lapse such as this does not fall within the remit of the ECU to address as a complaint.
As your complaints would have been upheld had an apology not already been made and the actions taken not satisfied me that it was resolved, a summary of my decision will be posted on the BBC Complaints website. I will notify you when this has happened. Meanwhile, I hope you will accept my further apologies on behalf of the BBC, and my thanks for giving us the opportunity to look into it.
Head of Editorial Complaints
So … that’s today’s positive story about the media. So here’s the all too inevitable negative one!
A few days before polling day, I got a call from a BBC researcher from the ‘Scotland Live’ programme asking if Dundee Liberal Democrats would participate in an eve-of-poll feature on the Dundee West constituency; the idea was to interview local activists from each of the four parties contesting Dundee West about their experiences of the campaign. I was advised that the parliamentary candidates could not participate but any other local activist could and that, due to the need for electoral balance, if any party refused participation, the feature could not go ahead.
To be frank, their wish for an interview at 8.30am on eve-of-poll was something I’d have rather avoided. We had a huge logistical exercise involving teams in West End, Coldside and Strathmartine Wards organising the delivery of leaflets and the thought of fitting in BBC Scotland was a bit of a pain. But we agreed. Always like to be helpful!
My brother in law (Murray – candidate in Coldside Ward) and I were trailed round deliveries in Hazel Drive by a friendly lady from the BBC who asked lots of questions about the election.
It turns out that the BBC had failed to explain to us that council candidates could not participate (in addition to a bar on parliamentary candidates) and at BBC HQ they had sussed that I was a council candidate. OK, a mistake by the BBC, but in the interview with the Conservatives, they interviewed the Conservative council candidate for the West End Ward. Total and abject BBC incompetence.
Phil Wells, the BBC ‘Scotland Live’ producer, has phoned and e-mailed me an apology, but he has made it perfectly clear that the BBC attitude is not to try to redress matters, simply to apologise and move on.
I do not think this is good enough. At the very least some reassurance that BBC Scotland now had procedures in place to stop this happening again would have been nice.
I think I can genuinely say I am not a natural moan. I doubt any other member of Dundee City Council had received so much adverse media comment in the past few years, but I have always found the best way forward is to ignore it and continue to work hard for your constituents. This is not a case of complaining because you have been criticised, but I feel it is not good enough that BBC Scotland believes it can simply ignore electoral balance and think it doesn’t really matter. So, I have lodged a formal complaint. Will report back on outcome in due course!