I AGREE with the journalists, including those from within the BBC including the excellent Huw Edwards, calling for an end to the “toxic” attacks on his colleagues.

Politicians from across the House have been at the receiving end of online hate and threats for some time. This same vitriol directed at the people reporting and making the news is equally unacceptable.

But, like politicians, the BBC is not beyond reproach.

And like other publicly funded organisations the BBC provides a service – and the public are right to expect a certain standard.

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Issues surrounding the BBC’s role in the leaders’ debates, and their failure to get Boris Johnson on with Andrew Neil, are well documented and the difficult questions they are struggling to answer will rightly continue. Also during the General Election regulated period the SNP often had to challenge the BBC on the issue of Scotland and the SNP being systematically omitted from stories. Too often the BBC’s disregard for devolution was glaringly obvious.

The National: Andrew Neil

In fairness, sometimes they would respond to us and change details to build us in. On other occasions, nobody would want to take responsibility. But hardly a day passed during the regulated period (November 6 to December 12) where we didn’t find ourselves having to chase BBC bosses to either proactively ensure that Scotland wasn’t forgotten about, or complain about news items which did just that.

Prior to the election, the BBC’s own guidelines stated that the SNP and the LibDems “should receive significant levels of coverage, up to and including similar levels to the two largest parties, depending on the relevance of issues, geographical context”.

The proposed “level pegging” between the SNP and the LibDems is a curious one.

The SNP have been the third largest party at Westminster since 2015, with substantially greater numbers of MPs than the LibDems in the previous three elections.

Our party membership number is far greater and we have been the party of devolved government in Scotland for nearly 13 years.

In this latest Westminster election we won a mandate from the people of Scotland to hold a fresh referendum on Scotland becoming an independent country. The LibDems during the same period in reality remain a minority party who lack any real relevance.

I have written to the BBC’s Director General highlighting concerns and pointing to media monitoring of the BBC’s 6pm and BBC 10pm news bulletins which show the LibDems appeared on more items and for considerably longer periods than the SNP did during the regulated period.

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The General Election results in the wee hours of December 13 of course compound just how wrong the BBC were over the LibDem “bounce”. And there is nothing to celebrate about flawed judgements or the failure to adhere to their own guidelines.

The institutional shortcomings of the broadcaster was encapsulated on the morning of December 11 – the final day of campaigning – with this BBC live feed headline and tri-party image.

In spite of these institutional challenges within the BBC, the SNP remains supportive of public service broadcasting. We recognise it as a vital component of a functioning democracy.

Our newly elected 47 MPs will defend the licence fee, we will continue the fight for the restoration of the free TV licence for over 75s and we will press for responsibility for broadcasting in Scotland to be devolved to Holyrood and for greater authority and funding to be moved from the BBC network to Scotland.

The National: Boris Johnson

We live in uncertain times. In Boris Johnson, the UK has the most ruthless and right wing Prime Minister in our lifetimes. The Tories are threatening to abolish the licence fee. Successive Tory governments have been dismantling public services for a decade now, so these moves to slash the BBC’s income should be no surprise.

The fact is that the BBC cannot afford to be defensive and prickly about criticism from stakeholders.

Instead, to survive, it must up its game and aim to match the complex and diverse needs of its audience. It needs a radical shake up.

In 2016, shortly after taking the post as Director of BBC Scotland, Donalda MacKinnon admitted that the BBC had lost trust in Scotland.

A similar admission from BBC bosses at New Broadcasting House would be a welcome start.

Then the corporation should reset their commitment to the four nations of the UK and commission an independent review of the progress since the King Report and make a fresh commitment to devolving the existing centralisation of London control over news and current affairs.

The SNP have constructively been pointing out the network’s failings in Scotland for some time but the BBC haven’t always responded well to criticism. We are not alone in our concerns. Recent Ofcom reports also shows that fresh thinking is urgently required.

With vast sums of public money at its disposal, BBC bosses must overcome their Westminster-centric obsession and present a plan for a properly funded fresh news and current affairs suite of programmes that meets the complexity required by the four nations of the UK.

From today onwards a much fairer representation on the existing programmes for the victors of the election in Scotland and the enhanced third party at Westminster would be a welcome start.

But the BBC needs to dig deeper than just ticking a few boxes. It needs to rediscover its ability to accept scrutiny and learn from criticism.

The world has changed. Social media is here to stay. In broadcasting, as in politics, it is not possible to please all of the people all of the time, but BBC chiefs need to wake up and set out how they are going to change.