The BBC has backed plans for a Scottish gaelic language tv channel to be made available on Freeview.
After the successful launch of BBC Alba in 2008, language campaigners were disappointed to discover that the BBC only intended to show the channel on satellite television. The Celtic League campaigned for BBC Alba to be shown on Freeview right from the beginning, arguing that the channel should be made available to all, just like S4C in Wales and other public service channels. The BBC Trust, who are responsible for where to host BBC Alba, were due to make a decision about extending coverage to Freeview earlier this year. The Trust however delayed their decision, subject to the findings of a review that they decided to carry out on how all BBC services should be broadcast.
The BBC has now said that it is prepared to back the idea of showing BBC Alba on Freeview, which should become available around the middle of next year. As part of the deal BBC Alba is likely to have to show that it is attracting viewers in Scotland who do not speak Gaelic, which some commentators say will be very difficult for BBC Alba to do.
As a consequence of other changes that are likely to be made, Scottish radio stations that currently air Gaelic language programmes may not be available on Freeview in the near future. The Trust has ruled though that BBC 2 Scotland will continue to broadcast it’s existing Gaelic language programmes on Freeview.
BBC gaelic language broadcasting information:
This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information