THE decision by BBC to discontinue broadcasting the First Minister’s daily update on the coronavirus ("BBC scales back virus updates by Sturgeon", The Herald, September 11) is breath-taking in its contempt for the public in Scotland and for its abandonment of its founding principles – "to educate, inform and entertain".

With millions relying on accurate information regarding restrictions and the progress of the virus, the BBC’s coverage has been seen as vital in providing such up to date data. That the First Minister can be questioned by the media, including BBC staff, (although not all stick to the pandemic), allows the public to be as well informed and up to date as possible, and is one of the great strengths of the broadcast.

To refuse to transmit the briefings is not just irresponsible, but is downright dangerous and a form of censorship. To suggest that an "edited version" will be shown later is risible. Does the BBC seriously expect that the public should trust an editor to give them health advice during a pandemic?

It has been suggested that the BBC has yielded to criticism by certain political figures, at least one of whom has claimed "credit" for the BBC U-turn, on the grounds that the broadcasts are giving too much publicity to the First Minister and not enough on them and their party. One praiseworthy feature of the Scottish Parliament has been the joint action to defeat the virus, and for a politician to use Covid-19 for party political purposes would be a new low.

That the decision has been made when many of the most vulnerable, who are reliant on the briefings for information, are being asked to pay over £150 a year for a previously free licence, adds insult to contempt.

T J Dowds, Cumbernauld.

IT'S appalling that BBC Scotland has decided to cancel live TV coverage of the Scottish Government's daily Covid-19 briefings

The BBC is a public broadcaster, and surely has a responsibility, even an obligation, to provide space for this vital information to reach its viewers.

Not everyone is internet-savvy, and many of those that aren't are most at risk from the virus.

For the housebound, those in care homes, and others, the television is the medium they rely on.

Equally appalling is the crowing from the Tories, but more especially Labour's George Foulkes, who describes the BBC's decision as "a victory" for the representations he, and the party's deputy leader in Scotland, Jackie Baillie, made to the broadcaster.

I am 62 and a life-long Labour supporter. Not any more.

Andy Stenton, Glasgow G1.

THE BBC certainly know how to make friends and influence people – not. First the abolition of free TV licences for the over-75s, a sector who often depend on their TVs for company, never mind entertainment; a sector who often do not have access to a computer, so depend on their TVs for daily updates on the current crisis the country is in.

With numbers of cases of Covid-19 in the country rising, and new local lockdown and national restrictions being put in place daily, it is astonishing to hear the BBC is dropping the daily Scottish Government broadcasts, effectively cutting off and abandoning the very ones who have been loyal to the BBC for decades. But it is not only the over-75s who are being victimised and abandoned by the BBC. The daily briefings include the use of sign language interpreters to assist those with a hearing impairment. Aren't they also being abandoned by the BBC? In this action the BBC is certainly doing nothing to tackle the major health issue of loneliness and isolation, something Covid-19 has certainly accelerated the symptoms of for many.

The BBC has a duty to the country and especially licence payers, many of whom do not have access to a computer. Removing the Scottish Government’s daily briefings from our screens is an act of betrayal.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

I WELCOME the BBC's decision to ditch Nicola Sturgeon's almost daily Covid-19 briefings. Admittedly, I have never watched one, but have come to this conclusion through numerous media reports which suggest there is sometimes an element of propaganda involved.

We obviously live in a "nanny" state and I accept that many people rely on TV to keep abreast of developments affecting their lives. However, surely the best place to let the public know is through the Scottish news programmes on TV (both BBC and STV), which struggle at times to find items of interest. Regular public service announcements on lifestyle issues would perhaps bring a sense of better purpose and encourage more viewers.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

I NOTE that the BBC is discontinuing the daily briefing by the First Minister et al on the coronavirus situation in Scotland. This may or may not be because of pressure by various parties that the briefing puts the FM front and centre, unlike the arm-waving PM. Personally I found the FM's briefing quite informative and her willingness to take questions from the press and others quite useful.

However, I have no doubt the BBC will in future feature Michael Gove and other Cabinet ministers various assuring us that this that and the next thing will be implemented in "the country".

Given that these ministers or spokespersons generally speak on non-devolved issues, can we be crystal clear if these apply to England or Wales or Northern Ireland? Listening to the talking heads on the BBC broadcasting from outwith Scotland it is unclear, despite the assurance from Mr Gove and the rest of the boys in the band that "it is very clear".

Ronald H Oliver, Elie.

MANY are relieved the BBC is at last dropping from broadcast media Nicola Sturgeon’s daily TV briefings, widely considered to be increasingly politicised. But I wonder, how will Ms Sturgeon now maintain so high a personal profile and keep the Alex Salmond/Joanna Cherry faction within the SNP at bay?

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

Read more: Sturgeon breaks her silence on BBC daily briefing row