COUNCIL chiefs have launched a robust defence of the BBC, claiming the broadcaster has a crucial role in building a "tolerant and pluralist" society.

Glasgow City Council said the beleaguered broadcaster had to remain free of political and commercial pressure, adding that its role as a "trusted voice has never been more urgent".

In a formal submission to the consultation on the BBC's future, the Labour-led authority pointed also to its economic value to the city, input into creative industries and role in milestone events on the civic calender such as the Celtic Connections festival.

But opposition leaders have accused the authority of not doing enough to boost the city's television production sector.

The endorsement comes amid ongoing political attacks on the BBC from the Tories and prominent SNP figures, including former First Minister Alex Salmond.

It also follows one of the most turbulent period's in the corporation's near 90-year history on the back of the fall-out from the Jimmy Savile revelations, as well as criticisms of squeezing commercial competitors out of the market.

The UK government launched a consultation on the BBC's Royal Charter, which sets out the purpose of the BBC and how it will be governed, in July, promising to ask "hard questions" about the corporation's size and ambition.

Plans include new versions of BBC education, news and entertainment services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and a pool of reporters to provide coverage of councils and public services that could be used by other local news outlets.

Claiming BBC Scotland was amongst "the finest public service broadcasters in the world", the council report, in the name of its deputy leader Cllr Archie Graham, said it had "a crucial role in building a tolerant, literate, creative and pluralist city and society".

He said the broadcaster should continue to be "treasured and nurtured by UK, Scottish and local governments alike", adding: "We strongly believe the BBC needs adequate funding and the freedom to develop programming and editorial content independently and without partisan, political or commercial pressure.

"The proliferation of information, content and programming across web platforms means that protecting the integrity of the BBC as a trusted voice and provider of high quality output has never been more urgent."

Mr Graham also said the presence of the BBC in Glasgow contributed enormously to the social and economic development of the city, while the relocation of BBC Scotland’s headquarters to the riverside location had been instrumental in regenerating the surrounding area.

In recent weeks the broadcaster has again been attacked by Mr Salmond for its referendum coverage, accusing it of being biased against the pro-independenceYes campaign.

His successor as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also claimed the BBC's coverage of last year's independence referendum was unfair, while it has been accused by Chancellor George Osborne of being “imperial in its ambition”.

But Glasgow Tory councillor David Meikle said: "Everyone must be able to have their say on the hard questions (facing the BBC).

"I understand the council has an interest as BBC Scotland is based in the city and they have a good working relationship, but I would encourage Glaswegians to give their views as part of the public consultation process."

SNP group leader Susan Aitken said: "We would like to have seen the report focus more on the potential benefits to Glasgow of increasing production. The BBC has a significant role to play in the creative sector and I'd hope they will make a bigger contribution to that in the future."