McArthur: Parliament must be unambiguous about value of BBC

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur has today emphasised the importance and quality of the BBC as MSPs debate the charter renewal process of the public service broadcaster.

This afternoon Mr McArthur moved an amendment to a Scottish Government motion and said Parliament had to be unambiguous about the value of the BBC and the need for it to remain impartial.

Speaking during the debate Mr McArthur said: “The BBC is an institution for which I, like countless millions in this country and across the world, have great admiration and affection.

“I would like to see this Parliament stating unequivocally that in pursuing legitimate claims for change and reform, these are intended to enhance and strengthen an institution that is the envy of most around the world and one we take for granted at our peril.

“The Government’s motion does nothing to specifically endanger that. I also welcome the tone the Cabinet Secretary’s comments but I do not think we can ignore some of the rhetoric that’s been used by Ministers and SNP backbenchers over recent years.

“That is why I believe that if parliament is to unite around a common view it should do so by being being unambiguous about the value of the BBC, about the imperative for it to remain impartial.

“This is not about resisting change. No one is seriously arguing that change is not needed. Lord Hall himself accepted that great decentralisation and decision-making is both required and indeed desirable.

“Change is already underway. This Parliament has a voice in the charter renewal process and that is a step forward, though this should be about recognising the diverse voices and views of the Scottish people, not simply the settled view of a single party.

““Without my amendment we risk agreeing to a motion that fails to properly acknowledge the value, quality and contribution of the BBC and I think that would be a mistake.”

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