Release time: Immediate

Add Freeview! – is the plea by the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) as the BBC’s £17m test channel in Gaelic called ALBA has been welcomed by viewers in Scotland.

Currently the BBC’s experiment of the ALBA channel will not reach the Freeview spectrum for another two years, which means that currently only a third of the Scottish population have access to the channel by FreeSat and Sky.

CIoJ conference, Scottish representative, Campbell Thomas, claimed the initial success of the venture – some 82 per cent of Gaelic speakers with access had viewed the channel – meant that the next phase should be moved on more rapidly.

“Why would any test be completed without the inclusion of the statistics for Freeview viewers’ since those are the most accessible low cost platforms in the Highlands and the Isles of Scotland and that’s where people are far more likely to be Gaelic speakers?

“Already it has been shown that 23 per cent of viewers in the Highland and Islands have watched BBC ALBA.  Bearing in mind that all experiments by the BBC are paid for by the Licence fee surely this experiment should be open to all? Freeview boxes have had their problems in Scotland but it is still the most accessible way people get digital TV.

“The Institute has written to the BBC Trust, urging them to roll this channel out to Cable and, more importantly, Freeview without further delay.  By giving everyone in Scotland the opportunity to view ALBA we will have a true reflection of how the channel will be received.”


Press contact:  Campbell Thomas,

Dominic Cooper, tel.  0207 252 1187 , email

Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ), 2 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 2XU. Website

Notes for Editors:
Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world’s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.


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