Alba to step-up ground campaign as Salmond accuses BBC of ‘black out’

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The Alba Party has said it will step-up its ground campaign as leader Alex Salmond claimed it is being “blacked out” by the BBC.

Mr Salmond has railed against broadcasters during the campaign for next week’s Holyrood election after Alba was not given a place in the televised leaders’ debates.

A ruling this week by broadcasting regulator Ofcom said the BBC’s approach to its coverage “did not raise concerns”.

The BBC said “rigorous” processes govern its election coverage and Ofcom had found it has given Alba “due weight” so far.

Speaking at the Falkirk Wheel on Friday, Mr Salmond said his party could mobilise more activists than any other in the country, as he pledged to counter the “broadcasting ban”.

He said: “Over the next week we will introduce further innovative campaign tactics to get across the arithmetic reality that an SNP vote on the regional list is wasted, but that Alba can galvanise the independence campaign.

“Every establishment hand may be turned against us, but Alba’s support in communities will see us break through to register gains across Scotland.

“Alba is rising and the people know it.”

Mr Salmond went on to attack the coverage of the BBC, as well as his party not being invited to the debates, before describing Scotland’s leading political parties as “the feeble five”.

He said: “The facts are simple. Alba has been effectively blacked out by the BBC which dominates the election broadcasting coverage. This applies not just to the set-piece debates but even more importantly to the daily round of news coverage.

“The BBC sticks to its out-of-date, discredited formula of ‘five major parties’ getting roughly equivalent coverage, despite the reality that of these parties the SNP are almost 10 times the size of the Lib Dems.

“Alba on many measurements – membership, Panelbase opinion polls, and policy relevance and distinctiveness – has already overtaken the Lib Dems in this campaign but yet is receiving only a bare fraction of the coverage allocated to the ‘feeble five’.”

A spokesman for the BBC said: “The BBC has rigorous processes on how we cover elections and we note that Ofcom have found that we have given due weight to the Alba Party in our coverage to date.”

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