Letter: Scotland's news

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Sir: The Governors of the BBC are currently considering a revamp of the Six O'Clock News in order to respond to the new political geography of the UK. They say they are "minded" to support a format which would still be produced and edited in London but which would reflect the fact that Scotland will have a new parliament next year and Wales and Northern Ireland new assemblies.

As presenters of news and current affairs programmes on BBC Scotland we would have to say that such a "solution" would not remove the existing anomalies nor adequately address the new political and broadcasting imperatives. At the moment much of what is transmitted in the national news at 6pm has little relevance in Scotland because the Scottish Office is responsible for policy areas like health, education, home affairs and the arts. This will be exacerbated by the arrival of a Scottish Parliament.

We also have a constant problem of duplication. Because the Six O'Clock News has Scotland correspondents covering the main Scottish story of the day, Scottish viewers see that item on the London-based news and frequently all over again on Reporting Scotland,which follows immediately. A Scottish Six, produced and edited in Scotland, would eradicate that problem.

Equally it is important that political stories after devolution are covered with a Scottish perspective.

A Scottish Six would not be a parochial poor relation. It would give viewers unrestricted access to international and national news from the BBC's unrivalled network of correspondents. But the running order and the style would reflect the priorities of its audience. The radio precedent is well established. Good Morning Scotland is broadcast at the same time as Today, using material from the latter where appropriate.

In setting up such a programme the BBC would not be running ahead of the political process as some Governors apparently fear, but merely complementing the fact of devolved government.

RUTH WISHART

IAIN MACWHIRTER

JOHN MILNE

KENNY McINTYRE

COLIN BELL

KEITH AITKEN

DEREK BATEMAN

ISOBEL FRASER

BBC Scotland

Glasgow

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