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BBC: a world platform for Scottish values

Published: 21 Jan 2016 14:15

Corporation plays a critical role in international relations.

The BBC plays a critical role supporting international relations and its contribution must be protected, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said today.

Speaking from a conference on the future of international relations Ms Hyslop highlighted the importance of the BBC World Service as a window for global audiences to see key Scottish and UK values in action and vowed to work hard to ensure more Scottish content is available to the network.

Ms Hyslop said:

"The BBC has played a longstanding and important role in international relations and part of this success lies in the authenticity and editorial independence of its voice. To put it simply it is not viewed as propaganda by a party or state – rather its prestige is built upon the excellence of its journalists and the freedom of its broadcasters.

"The BBC World Service provides a window for international audiences to see another world that denotes liberal ideas, constructive debate, dialect of tolerance and mutual understanding, which surely must be part of a state's provision of national and international security.

"By cutting its support for the BBC World Service by more than £250 million in 2010, the UK Government demonstrated a worrying failure to recognise its crucial role in global democracy. So while I welcome the Chancellor's recent decision to reinstate £85 million of this funding, he must do much more to ensure the World Service has the crucial support it needs to promote our reputation, values and influence.

"The independence referendum energised Scotland in 2014, prompting a record 85 per cent turnout as our people engaged with politics on a level never previously seen. That consensual, democratic process played out on the world stage with audiences and governments from far and wide taking an interest in Scotland's future, our values and our culture. Through this and global coverage of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Scotland engaged extensively with the world and we're very keen to build on this.

"That is part of the reason why I am so determined to protect public service broadcasting, and why I am glad that the Scottish Government has a formal role in the process of BBC Charter Renewal for the very first time.

"The BBC can do much more and indeed gain much more by truly showcasing the diversity and talent of the whole of the UK to the wider world. That is why I am continuing to push for more editorial and commissioning control for Scotland, which would allow us to build on what was achieved in 2014 by better reflecting the stories and lives, the art and culture of Scotland - both to ourselves and to the wider world.

"Of course the way that the world accesses content has changed and that is why I am also pressing for additional channels, including digital channels for BBC Scotland, which will provide an important new platform to showcase our wealth of talent and creativity internationally."

Notes to editors

Ms Hyslop was speaking today at a 'Future of International Cultural Relations' conference organised by the Centre for Cultural Relations at the University of Edinburgh and supported by the Scottish Government.