Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat, Beatrice Wishart has voiced her support for the BBC highlighting its cultural importance and praising local radio services. Speaking in a members debate brought by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton Wishart said of Radio Shetland that it allowed for ‘a space to gather and experience our shared culture’ as well as providing respected ‘impartial coverage of island events’.
Ms Wishart reflected on the BBC dramatisation of the police drama ‘Shetland’ stating that where the BBC goes others follow, so a risk taken by the BBC, proves to other creators that you can film and produce successful programmes in rural, remote and island areas. Wishart pointed to the potential negative cultural impact cuts to the BBC could have.
Wishart previously questioned the First Minister as to the Scottish Government’s response after reports that the licence fee will be cut after the current funding deals in 2027. The BBC Director General has stated that “everything is on the agenda” when it comes to what could be cut as a result of BBC budget cuts.
After the debate Ms Wishart said:
“The BBC is something that belongs to all of us, informing us, educating us, entertaining us, challenging us and enriching our lives not only through its output but by its cultural impact.
“In the event that Shetland is hit with something similar to Storm Arwen it will be local radio that will be there to relay local help and information. Even to areas that struggle to get basic broadband.
“Local radio stations are truly a lifeline public community service. Is it something we want to risk?”
Notes to Editors
You can watch Ms Wishart’s contribution here.
You can watch Ms Wishart’s question to the First Minister here.