He suggested Scotland could have a mix of a new broadcasting corporation with a variety of funding methods, coupled with the ability to continue receiving existing BBC services.

The SNP has always argued an independent Scotland would have its own public service broadcaster, and this week’s Ministerial paper on the issue re-stated the view that this would involve taking the existing assets of the BBC in Scotland into a new Scottish Broadcasting Corporation.

It envisaged the BBC being available in a future digital age, as it is in Ireland where RTE is the state broadcaster. The argument that only a fraction of the licence fee raised in Scotland is spent here is seen as a powerful argument for change.

Yesterday’s position paper published by culture minister Michael Russell as part of the National Conversation process, looked at a land-scape where this new mix of providers may be funded through a television licence fee, possibly supplemented by advertising.

The blueprint for broadcasting covered not just the possibity of independence but also looked at other possible futures in an era of enhanced devolution.

It was stressed yesterday that there was strong evidence that the £111m impact on the economy of 2400 jobs, as envisaged in the report, could have been doubled by 2012 if the BBC and Channel 4 met pledges on commissioning and a Scottish digital network was established.

The report stated: “One consequence of having autonomous broadcasting organisations based in Scotland is that it would increase the likelihood of the licence-fee money and advertising revenue earned in Scotland being spent on Scottish programming.”

During First Minister’s Questions yesterday Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott claimed there was a fear about the possible consequences of this, saying: “He’s put forward his plans to end the BBC in Scotland -- there are no guarantees that the BBC will still be available here.”

He added: “In North Korea TVs and radios come pre-tuned to government stations.

How can people avoid that here?”

Mr Salmond told him: “I don’t actually know what happens on television in North Korea but I do know what happens on television in the Republic of Ireland, where all of the BBC programmes are available.”

He added: “I hope that calms the concerns of Tavish Scott and the Liberal Democrats that they won’t be able to watch their favourite programmes.”

The First Minister had earlier agreed to a “helpful and constructive” suggestion from Mr Scott concerning the dispute between ITV and STV.

Earlier this week ITV launched a £38m legal claim against its network partner in a row over the Scottish broadcaster’s move to drop TV shows such as The Bill.

Mr Scott said the television regulator Ofcom had previously made an offer of arbitration in a bid to resolve the dispute. He added that while STV had accepted this, ITV had refused.

He asked Mr Salmond to speak to the UK Government to “push ITV into those mediation talks”.

The First Minister said: “Yes, I agree with that suggestion from Tavish Scott. I was aware of the offer of arbitration, I do urge ITV to take up that offer of arbitration.”