Alba Party leader Alex Salmond
28 April 2021

Ofcom rejects Alba Party complaint over BBC coverage

28 April 2021

Ofcom has rejected a complaint from the Alba Party about the BBC’s coverage of the Scottish parliamentary election.

The broadcasting regulator said the BBC’s approach to the leaders’ debate on March 30 and its general coverage of the election period “did not raise concerns” under sections five and six of its code.

These relate to due impartiality and accuracy, and elections and referendums respectively.

Ofcom said its election committee considered several factors in reaching its decision, saying the BBC’s coverage to date has “given due weight to the significant views and perspectives held by the Alba Party”.

It also noted that Alba was “a very new party” having only launched four days before the leaders’ debate, and that it was mentioned in BBC programmes broadcast right before and after the leaders’ debate.

Ofcom added: “The Alba Party received extensive coverage by the BBC on the date of its manifesto launch, including about its ambition to secure a supermajority for Scottish independence through regional list seats.

“Given the level of current support for political parties is, by its nature, dynamic, the BBC would need to assess the issues afresh to determine what level of coverage, if any, should be provided to the Alba Party in its planned second debate, or in any programmes linked to it.”

Under the Ofcom code, election programmes must “include and give due weight to an appropriately wide range of significant views and perspectives”.

“Broadcasters must also give due weight to the coverage of parties during the election period, taking into account evidence of past electoral support and/or current support”, Ofcom added.

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