General election 2024: STV wants to switch Alba election broadcast 'in case too many people see it'

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Alex Salmond says he has given STV a red card after it said it was rescheduling his Alba party’s election broadcast so it would not benefit from viewers tuning in for Scotland’s first appearance in the Euros football tournament.

Alba’s one and only broadcast for the general election was due to air on both BBC and STV on Friday, but STV told the party it would have “an unfair advantage” if its broadcast went out before or after the Scotland v Germany clash that evening. Instead, STV has said it would transmit the broadcast on Thursday, June 20. .

Former first minister Alex Salmond says he has shown STV a red card over the timing of Alba’s election broadcast  Former first minister Alex Salmond says he has shown STV a red card over the timing of Alba’s election broadcast
Former first minister Alex Salmond says he has shown STV a red card over the timing of Alba’s election broadcast

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Mr Salmond, already angry at Alba’s exclusion from televised debates, said STV had explicitly said it was changing the schedules in case too many people saw the party’s broadcast. And he said if STV refused to change its mind, he would take the issue to broadcast regulator Ofcom.

He said: “STV got a yellow card over their carve up of the television debates. Now that they have put the boot into election fairness again, the card colour has gone red.

"Since the beginning of party broadcasts, the BBC pick the date and STV put it out at roughly the same time. This has always meant that if one side had a small audience for whatever reason, then the other channel has a a big viewership. That is how balance and fairness is maintained.and that is how it should be this Friday, before the Scotland game is shown.

"Now STV have decided to throw away the rule book. They have decided it would give Alba an “unfair advantage” to show our broadcast at a time of a big audience before or after the football. This humbug from the TV station which unfairly bans Alba from TV debates.

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"To add insult to injury, their proposed new broadcast date is after the postal votes are out. Alba gets but one broadcast. The establishment parties get multiple opportunities.

"We have given STV until close of play today to restore fair play or we will report them forthwith to the Election Committee at Ofcom."

In a note to Alba, STV said: “You will be allocated one PEN (party election broadcast) on STV and one PEB on BBC, it’s just that the dates differ. We have the Scotland game on our channel on Friday 14 June and it ould be considered giving your party an unfair advantage if we were to schedule your PEB on this evening prior to or after the opening game.

“Broadcasters are not bound by Ofcom rules to schedule PEBs on the same dates as other broadcasters but where ever possible we always strive to do so.”

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STV told the Evening News: “We’re comfortable that our election coverage across the board - including news, current affairs and Party Election Broadcasts - complies with the Ofcom Broadcast Code and its guidance around due impartiality.”

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