FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reminded the BBC that they are a "public service broadcaster".

Her comments came after the corporation moved to scrap the regular live broadcasting of the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefings.

READ MORE: FM on BBC briefings cut: Communicating with public has never been more important

That decision has sparked fury. Donald Macaskill, the chair of the Scottish Care group, warned that the impact would "disproportionately affect older persons and those with disabilities".

Here's what the FM told our reporter.


"Let me start with, and I suppose preface my answer here with the obvious point, what is broadcast on the BBC is a matter for the BBC. 

"It's not up to me as a politician and that's a pretty fundamental principle in in any democracy.

"That said, these briefings and the televising of these briefings at a time like this have been a public service and the BBC is a public service broadcaster.

"The televising of these briefings have been important in allowing me to communicate information and advice directly, and also, to go back to a point I made earlier on, giving us the opportunity to explain the reasoning and rationale behind the decisions we're taking, and the things we're asking people to do. 

"As I said earlier on, I've always thought during this that the more people can understand why they've been asked to restrict their lives in certain ways, the more likely it is that they're going to comply with that and I think that principle generally has served Scotland well over the past few months.

"We are clearly now at a point where the virus is accelerating again, we are going into winter. so, it becomes more important, not less important over this next period for me to be able to continue that very direct communication.

"These briefings will always be broadcast on Scottish Government channels so they will always be available for people to see, but not everybody - and it's a point we've been asked about and talked about in relation to the Protect Scotland app -  not everybody is as hooked into the internet and technology as some of us are.

"What has struck me over the period that these briefings have been televised, and this is reflected in my mailbag, is that they have been particularly important to certain sections of the population that maybe don't routinely go on to the internet or watch things on their phones, and that is older people who I think have really found the source of information important.

"It has been particularly important to people with disabilities, perhaps people with hearing impairment, we've had fantastic BSL translation throughout all of this.

"I know it was important over an earlier period and perhaps still is for people in the shielding category, again disproportionately older more vulnerable people.  

"That brings me back to the point I made at the outset, and what is broadcast in the BBC is a matter for the BBC, but we are in unique circumstances right now, and the ability for me and for my colleagues to communicate directly with the public has never been more important than it is right now.

"These are not political. I've always taken great care to try to not stray into political territory, I am not saying I've never slipped up I am fallible, but I've always recognised my responsibility to keep these briefings, very much on topic.

"I want people, regardless of the politics, to be able to listen and hear the messages that are so important. 

"It's for the BBC, all I would ask is that they take all of that into account in the decisions that they make."