NICOLA Sturgeon has demanded Scots get a dedicated BBC television channel to counter the often “ill-informed” coverage of London journalists who she said had “totally failed” to cover the process of constitutional change happening across the UK.

Delivering the Alternative MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival last night the First Minister called for BBC editors based north of the Border to have greater ability to influence UK reporting, as well as for the Scottish Parliament to be responsible for overseeing the BBC in Scotland.

She said she did not believe the BBC’s coverage of the referendum was biased, but said BBC network journalists flown in during the final stages of the campaign “sounded less than fully informed”.

And she argued that the old model of public broadcasting no longer reflected the “varied and rich political and social realities of the UK”, and that the BBC Charter renewal process presented an opportunity for bold change.

Her speech comes at a crucial time for the BBC as it prepares to publish its own proposals for Charter renewal in the next fortnight, with the next Charter forming the basis for BBC operations over the next decade.

Sturgeon said her proposals would make the next BBC Charter, which is due to run until 2027, fit for purpose “for many years to come – whatever our future constitutional relationship may be”.

Her lecture covered a wide range of issues, including the representation of women in the media, the BBC’s licence fee, her own use of social media, the broadcaster’s coverage of the referendum, and the reforms she believed it needed to make to keep apace with the constitutional changes taking place in the UK.

On structural change needed in the BBC:

Sturgeon said: “In Scotland, less than half of the audience thinks that the BBC accurately reflects their lives in terms of its news and current affairs coverage...Responsibility for broadcasting in Scotland should transfer from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament … I think it would be basic common sense for the Scottish Parliament … to also have responsibility for broadcasting.”

She also called for a second English-language BBC radio service to accompany BBC Radio Scotland and a distinct BBC Scotland TV channel.

“We believe that a distinct BBC Scotland TV channel should be created – empowering BBC Scotland as never before … One of the things the last 12 months has demonstrated, is that the old model of public service broadcasting – important though I think it is – doesn’t work well enough. It no longer reflects the complex, varied and rich political and social realities of the UK.”

On the referendum coverage:

She accused the BBC of following the agenda of newspapers that were anti-independence during the 2014 campaign, and of lapsing into “partial and, at times, pejorative” coverage.

She said: “I am not saying there was institutional bias in the BBC’s referendum output.

“However, there were occasions when its coverage – through oversight, apparent ignorance of the detail of an issue or as a result of simply following the agenda of openly partisan print media – lapsed from the objective output the referendum deserved into what could seem partial and, at times, pejorative.”

On women:

She said that for an industry that prided itself on being “creative and innovative” it was surprising how “old fashioned the media can sometimes feel”.

“When I see sexist media portrayals of public figures, I don’t get upset on my own behalf – I’ve become personally quite inured to it. But I do feel angry about the potential impact on women and young girls who might be driven away from pursuing a career in politics or public life because of it and unfortunately I speak to many who are.”

She also talked about her own feeling of being asked personal questions which she believed would not be asked of male politicians, but said social media users would strongly object to such questions being put.

“I know when I’m asked questions in interviews about my appearance, or why I don’t have kids – in other words, questions that a male politician would almost certainly never be asked – there is often a reaction online. And when people make comments that might be considered inappropriate or sexist – or when women are completely absent from a TV discussion – viewers and readers are very likely to use social media to make their opinions known.”

On the licence fee:

The First Minister said she and her government were “quite drawn to the idea of a progressive, income-based levy” rather than a flat-rate licence fee and added: “We will consider that proposal very carefully – maybe not for immediate implementation, but as a medium term funding solution.

And, however it is raised, there is no doubt that a fairer proportion of the licence fee should be invested here in Scotland.”

On social media and “Frenchgate”:

“I certainly learned the value of that during the general election when the Telegraph carried the false allegation that I had told the French Ambassador that I wanted David Cameron to win the election.

“Before Twitter, it would have taken hours for my rebuttal of that story, which was published late on a Friday night, to appear in print or on TV and then, of course, it would have been up to the media what prominence it was given. Instead, within minutes of it breaking, people could read a tweet from me saying that it was 100 per cent untrue.”

Corporation hits back saying Scottish audiences get ‘great value’ from their licence fee

The National view: The BBC is in the dock