ALEX Salmond has reported BBC Scotland to media watchdog Ofcom, accusing the broadcaster of “blatant discrimination” against his Alba party.

The former first minister has also reported STV to the broadcasting watchdog amid a row over smaller parties’ exclusion from a televised General Election debate.

It comes after STV announced that they would be holding a televised debate on the Westminster election, involving First Minister John Swinney and three Scottish group leaders of Unionist parties: the Tories’ Douglas Ross, Labour’s Anas Sarwar, and LibDem Alex Cole-Hamilton.

The Greens and Alba have both reacted angrily to being excluded – and Salmond also took issue with the BBC after an episode of Debate Night, broadcast from Kirkcaldy, did not include his party.

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Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy is a key target seat for Labour and they have parachuted in a London-based candidate after their first pick was found to have engaged in “racist” social media activity. Its current MP is Neale Hanvey, Alba’s Westminster leader.

Salmond claimed both the BBC and STV had shown “scant regard for their obligations to fairness and impartiality”.

The former first minister said: “Both STV and BBC should hang their heads in shame. They both show scant regard for their obligations to fairness and impartiality and no imagination of any kind in the presentation of political coverage.

“As of today Alba have two MPs, the same number as Scottish Labour, but after a week of the election campaign they have not shown Alba in a single broadcast report. Every report is the same dreary dirge from the established parties supplemented by extra coverage when their UK leaders come up on a day trip.

“Next Monday [STV] have announced the first election debate with four Holyrood leaders, all men. If they had included Alba and the Greens they could have had in Ash Regan and Lorna Slater two women on their panel and fulfilled their obligations to diversity as well as political balance, since they would have had three panelists for and against independence.

“This shameful carve up has been reported to Ofcom.”

Salmond went on: “As for BBC Scotland they have the broadcast ‘Debate Night’ show from Kirkcaldy, advertising it as a Labour target seat.

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“This seat is held by Neale Hanvey an Alba MP who won it in 2019 as an independent nationalist, but there is still no Alba representative. And yet they have included on the panel the Scottish Greens who have no MPs and in Lorna Slater someone who was on their programme only three weeks ago! It is blatant discrimination against the Alba Party and will also be reported to Ofcom.

“If the terrible twins of Scottish broadcasting continue like this they will prejudice the entire election and result in a mass turn off of a totally bored electorate.

“One of the few exciting developments in politics right now is the new diversity of parties. However, BBC Scotland and STV are stuck in an old rut with their pals in the established parties.”

An STV spokesperson said: “STV’s election coverage, including the upcoming leaders’ debate, is consistent with Ofcom’s Programme Code.” 

A BBC spokesperson said: “We are committed to due impartiality, putting audiences first and providing them with comprehensive analysis and reporting of all the latest developments.  The BBC’s Election Guidelines ensure our content complies with appropriate election rules in Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code.  

"Determining appropriate levels of coverage will take into account levels of past and current electoral support. Over the course of the general election period political parties will receive proportionate coverage on BBC output.”