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BBC has vital role in widening the debate on independence

The current controversy over the BBC should not be allowed to obscure the excellent value for money the corporation provides in every field from the fabulous entertainment of Strictly Come Dancing to the fascinating and wholly uncommercial output on Radio 3 and Radio 4.

The BBC is not just a TV service, and a significant error in the current debate is the focus on investigative journalism on Newsnight, ie on one element of one programme, on one channel in one medium ("Newsnight executives in firing line", The Herald, November 14).

In the current political context in Scotland, the BBC has a further vital role in bringing wider and more critical perspectives to the referendum debate than those offered by the Scottish media. I know I am not alone in having welcomed the healthy scepticism of Jeremy Paxman directed at Alex Salmond on Newsnight, and the insistence of David Dimbleby that Nicola Sturgeon should provide answers on Question Time, to quote two notable instances.

It is already an unfortunate by-product of the referendum issue that many other political debates (EU membership and Trident) risk being relegated to subsets of "Independence: Yes or No." The BBC – and especially BBC News – is an essential real-world antidote to this reductive trend.

Peter A Russell,

87 Munro Road,

Glasgow.

The BBC has some very serious issues to address but to describe it as "mediocre and self-seeking", as Ian F Mackay does, is ludicrous (Letters, November 13).

The BBC's output is second to none. It is full of superb programmes on TV and radio backed by an excellent website. We should recognise this and sing its praises. It does make mistakes from time to time – as do all large organisations – but this should never be allowed to detract from the overall quality of what it produces.

The corporation produces amazing wildlife, drama, sport, music and entertainment programmes as well as documentaries such as Planet Earth and most recently Operation Iceberg. We would be vastly poorer without it.

Those who moan about the licence fee should reflect on the fact the BBC gives us access to a huge range of high quality television and radio stations (without any interruptions for advertisements).

Many of us pay considerably more for a multitude of cable and satellite channels. Now there is mediocrity.

Alasdair Young,

19 Baronshill Avenue,

Linlithgow.

IN all the furore over events at the BBC, we should take care not to play into the hands of far less benign forces. The Murdoch empire and many politicians would be only too delighted for the BBC to lose funding and come under closer political control.

The Murdochs have been trying for years to achieve this; Tony Blair somehow managed it with the Hutton inquiry. Do we really want the activities of Mr Blair, the Murdochs and their ilk to be even further freed from scrutiny? I certainly would not want this, so let's remember what might be lost in the welter of criticism over one ill-judged and possibly ill-researched programme.

Dr RM Morris,

Veslehaug,

Polesburn,

Methlick, Ellon.

AS someone who has experience of the working practices of both the BBC and several other publicly funded bodies I can assure any concerned citizens that the running of the BBC is exemplary by comparison.

James Young,

90 Mitchell Street,

Glasgow.

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