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About the Scottish Parliament

Media resources

Media policy for reporting of parliamentary business

The SPCB media policy sets out the way in which the SPCB facilitates news reporting of parliamentary business.

This policy sets out the SPCB’s position on a range of issues relating to wider programme-making, broadcasting, filming and news conferences for external groups, and filming and recording by Members of the Scottish Parliament.

1. Requests from media organisations for whole or partial use of the Parliament building for the purposes of programme making, for example a radio programme being anchored from the Garden Lobby.

As with parliamentary events in general, all requests for use of the chamber remain a decision for the Presiding Officer. The SPCB will decide on all requests for whole or partial use of the remainder of the Parliament building.

For the purposes of programme-making the following factors will be taken into account when considering requests from the media to use Holyrood for programme-making:

  • The programme’s relevance to parliamentary business and/or increasing understanding about Parliament and its work.
  • The opportunity for the public’s engagement and participation.
  • The opportunity for political balance within the programme.
  • The programme’s editorial policy.
  • The opportunities for the Parliament to engage as a partner in the process
  • Programme fit with existing Parliament policies on branding, sponsorship, equalities, security etc.
  • The impact of the programme on the normal day to day running of parliamentary business and public engagement.
  • Cost and resource issues (in general SPCB would not absorb any additional costs associated with such a request).
  • Any other relevant factors at the time (such as timing).

Requests from media organisations should be routed through the Parliament Communications Office.

Note: This policy approach does not affect the current Media Access Rules covering broadcasters’ day-to-day practice of interviewing MSPs or presenting pieces to camera for the purposes of news reporting.

2. Requests from media organisations to include the building in non-political programmes, e.g. feature pieces within tourism, history or cultural programmes.

Programmes such as these can help in promoting the Parliament’s role in Scottish life; its accessibility; and its status as a “must see” for visitors to Edinburgh from Scotland, the UK and abroad.

Requests to film non-political feature pieces are handled by the Parliament Communications Office. Any novel and contentious issues which arise in considering such requests will be escalated to the SPCB. Given that these tend to be non-news programmes consideration of requests will take account of the Parliament’s aims to:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of the Parliament.
  • Widen opportunities for engagement and participation in parliamentary activities (this includes encouraging people in Scotland, UK and abroad to visit).

As part of the decision-making process on these request, the Parliament Communications Office will take into account:

  • The impact of the programme on the normal day-to-day running of parliamentary business and public engagement.

3. Requests by media to use the Parliament as a venue for non-MSP interviews.

Accredited journalists may be interviewed within the parliamentary building. All other requests for non-MSP interviews should be directed to the Parliament Communications Office. The Parliament Communications Office has discretion to agree requests and permission is likely to be given where an individual can demonstrate a close link to parliamentary business, for example, when attending Parliament as a committee witness. The Main Hall or outside of committee rooms will be the likely agreed location in such instances.

4. Filming/photography and/or recording by MSPs/MSPs' staff/political parties in the Parliament

Members and/or their staff are entitled to carry out their own recording/filming/photography in relation to their parliamentary duties. Any filming should be carried out respecting the privacy of other building users and in a way which ensures that there is no disruption to parliamentary activities.

Recording/filming/photography in the chamber requires the prior permission of the Presiding Officer.

Recording/filming/photography of a party-political nature or for party political purposes is not permitted within the building.

5. External parties’ news conferences

External parties’ news conferences must not be held at the Parliament. However the SPCB agrees that a Member may host a news conference in their parliamentary role on an issue, supported by an external body.

Party political news conferences must not be held within the Scottish parliamentary complex.

6. Complaints

Complaints about the use of SPCB facilities and services should be made to the SPCB. The SPCB may refer any complaint relating to the use of parliamentary facilities and services to the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee together with a recommendation for action.

Complaints in relation to the code of conduct for accredited media at the Scottish Parliament should be to the Parliament Communications Office.

Any media-related requests not covered above, should be directed to the Parliament Communications Office.