The Scottish Greens have today challenged Holyrood's four other parties to support fair coverage during this year's election campaign. This comes ahead of the deadline on Friday for submissions to the BBC Trust consultation on its guidelines for the Scottish election and a day after STV hosted the first cross-party discussion on the coming election, including all five parliamentary parties. Current guidance from the Trust as well as broadcast regulator Ofcom would relegate the Greens to 'minor party' status, below the four other parties of parliament.
Party co-convenor and Glasgow MSP Patrick Harvie has written to the leaders of the SNP, Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, asking them to confirm that they will respond to the BBC Trust and Ofcom consultations with a call for the Greens to be included in the 'major parties' category.
Patrick Harvie said:
"There is a clear public expectation that the BBC and other broadcasters will offer fair and balanced coverage of this year's election campaign. I hope that our colleagues across the parliament, some of whom have been at the receiving end of unfair coverage rules, make a clear and unambiguous response to both the BBC and Ofcom in support of balanced coverage and specifically in support of our inclusion as a major party.
“Throughout the Scottish Parliament's seventeen year history five parties have been continuously represented and they are the five parties currently sitting in the chamber. To decide that the Greens, as the party regularly projected to make the most gains in May are somehow on a tier below the rest shows a misunderstanding of where Scottish politics is and has been for some time.”
Since news of the BBC Trust's guidance broke last week over six thousand people have signed a petition calling for fair & balanced coverage and specifically for the Greens' inclusion as a major party.
1) Petition - https://www.scottishgreens.org.uk/bbc-fair-coverage/
2) An average of 2015 polls would see the Greens win 8-9 seats, the Liberal Democrats 5-6 and UKIP 0