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BBC attacked: Viewers urged to ‘cancel licence fee’ as row erupts over Sturgeon briefings

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Ms Sturgeon has been delivering a daily televised update almost every day during the pandemic. However, opposition politicians have accused her of making politically charged comments and say the briefings should be fronted by medical experts in the lead up to the election.

Defund The BBC, a group campaigning for the decriminalisation of non-licence fee payment, has accused the corporation of having an “anti-unionist” bias.

The group tweeted: “The anti-unionist BBC has been blasted for ‘stacking election in favour of the SNP’ by continuing to screen Nicola Sturgeon’s daily TV briefings throughout the forthcoming election.

“Switch to on-demand and do your bit to #DefundTheBBC by legally cancelling your TV licence.”

Scots go to the polls on May 6 to elect their next parliament.

Ms Sturgeon is demanding a second vote on Scotland’s place in the UK with the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford suggesting this could take place later in the year.

However recent polls suggest the party has lost support following intense criticism following a row at the hierarchy of the party involving Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond, and the way allegations made against the former first minister were handled.

The BBC’s decision to continue airing Ms Sturgeon’s briefings was sharply criticised by the Scottish Conservatives.

They tweeted: “The BBC will not take Nicola Sturgeon’s briefings off the air entirely during the election.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon’s independence dream slipping away as SNP ‘tarnished’

Opposition groups have long argued these sessions should be led by medical experts rather than a politician.

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, strongly condemned the BBC’s decision.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph he said: “The shameful decision to let the SNP continue these briefings will have deeply damaging consequences for democracy in Scotland.

“BBC Scotland are stacking the 2021 election in the SNP’s favour and allowing Nicola Sturgeon to dictate what they air and when, while the Scottish Conservatives have to fight for every minute of coverage.”

Boris Johnson has vowed to block any second referendum on Scotland leaving the union arguing the question was “settled” by the 2014 poll.

Senior SNP figures have threatened to hold a ‘wildcat’ referendum without British Government approval but this would likely face a unionist boycott.

Explaining its briefing decision a spokesman for the BBC said: “Our aim is to ensure that our commitment to providing key public health information to our audiences continues to be fulfilled without compromising our duty to fairness and impartiality across our broadcast coverage – as independent regulator Ofcom recognised when they said earlier this week that our coverage to date preserved due impartiality and was contextualised.

“In all cases, our editorial decisions will be based on two considerations: the significance of the public health information to be discussed at the briefing, and the requirement for the BBC to exercise due impartiality during the election period, as set out in the BBC election guidelines and in Ofcom’s election guidance.”

Express.co.uk has approached the BBC’s press office for additional comment.

 



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