On Monday 11th April, Cllr Andrew Long and I travelled to Plymouth to meet with representatives of BBC South West.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Mebyon Kernow’s concerns about the BBC’s coverage of MK in the 2015 General Election campaign, as well as the historic under-representation of MK on regional television in the years prior to 2015.
At the meeting, there were five people from the BBC including the head of BBC South West Leo Devine and Martin Oates.
We had previously set out our concerns in a letter, which we had sent to the BBC, and these concerns were discussed in some detail.
It is fair to say that we did not make any great progress at the meeting and the local representatives of the BBC did repeatedly argue that the editorial decisions they made in the “South West” were in-line with guidelines from their central office.
As we have not yet heard from Ric Bailey, the Chief Advisor on Politics (Editorial Policy and Standards) at the BBC, we told the meeting we would be making additional representations to him.
In spite of this, it was nonetheless a useful meeting and we made it clear that we would continue to argue our corner with the Corporation.
One thing we did not discuss was the refusal of the BBC to allow MK Party Election Broadcasts, as this was outside of the responsibilities of BBC South West.
It is something that we will be raising further with Ric Bailey in the next few weeks and we will be pointing out – once again – the unfair and undemocratic nature of the present arrangements.
It is especially galling at the moment to see all manner of political parties allowed PEBs for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and London Assembly elections. I understand that PEBs have already been broadcast by RISE Scotland’s Socialist Alternative, Solidarity (Scotland), Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, Monster Raving Loony Party (Wales), BNP, Respect, Women’s Equality Party (London).
Why shouldn't MK have the same right to a PEB in relation to future election campaigns?
More to follow …