The Broadcasters' Liaison Group was formed in 1997 and comprises of representatives of each of the broadcasters who make airtime available to registered political parties and to designated organisations in referendum campaigns. Each broadcaster is responsible for deciding the allocations made available to a political party. However, through the BLG, broadcasters work together with the Electoral Commission to ensure a consistent approach.
Meetings of the BLG are chaired by the BBC's Chief Adviser, Politics.
The group meets from time to time to co-ordinate the criteria which each broadcaster applies in determining the amount of airtime to be made available.
Broadcasting opportunities made available to political parties fall into three categories:
- Party Election Broadcasts (PEBs), which are offered to qualifying political parties, registered with the Electoral Commission, in the run-up to elections
- Party Political Broadcasts (PPBs)
- Ministerial Broadcasts, which, in exceptional circumstance, are offered to the government followed by responses by the main opposition parties.
The Ofcom Broadcasting Code (which regulates all the relevant broadcasters except the BBC) defines the main parties as: The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. In Scotland, the SNP is also included as is Plaid in Wales. In Northern Ireland the main political parties are the DUP, Sinn Fein, the SDLP, Ulster Unionists and the Alliance. (This does not apply to the BBC, which is regulated by the BBC Trust for these purposes.)
BLG Member Organisations
Chief Adviser, Politics
BBC Broadcast Centre
201, Wood Lane
London W12 7TP
Tel: 020 800 81805
The BBC makes airtime available at general and European elections. In the Nations, airtime is made available for elections to devolved institutions and for local government. The BBC Trust takes appeals concerning BBC allocations.
Director of Programme Compliance
London Television Centre
London SE1 9LT
Tel: 020 7261 3358
The ITV regions make airtime available at general elections, European elections and local government elections. Airtime is also made available to the major parties for Party Political Broadcasts. ITV1 Wales also makes airtime available at elections to the Welsh Assembly and for local government elections in Wales.
Head of Compliance
Tel: 0141 300 3311
STV makes airtime available for [4 X seasonal broadcasts] to the Scottish Parliament and for local government elections in Scotland in addition to the commitments of the ITV Network. In addition to the commitments of the Ch3 Network, STV carries Party Election Broadcasts (“PEBs”), Party Political Broadcasts (“PPBs”), Referendum Campaign Broadcasts ("RCBs") and Local Election Broadcasts in Scotland.
Editor of News
Tel: 028 90 262000
In addition to the commitments of the ITV network, UTV makes airtime available at elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly and for local government elections in Northern Ireland
Legal & Compliance
124 Horseferry Road
Tel: 020 7396 4444
Channel Four makes airtime available at general elections. In addition airtime is also made available to the major parties and the main minor parties through ‘The Political Slot', 16 of which are allocated annually.
22 Long Acre
Tel: 020 7550 5655
Five makes airtime available at general elections and European elections.
Tel: 020 7585 4418
Sky News makes airtime available on a voluntary basis at general elec
Head of Legal
S4C Parc Ty Glas
Phone: +44(0)29 20741227 or +44(0)29 20747444
S4C makes airtime available at general elections and European elections, elections to National Assembly for Wales and for local government elections.
Absolute Radio, in line with a number of other national commercial radio stations, carries campaign broadcasts during general election and referendum campaigns.
Classic FM carries Party Election Broadcasts (‘PEBs”) for general elections and Referendum Campaign Broadcasts (“RCBs”) for UK referendums
talkSPORT, in line with a number of other national commercial radio stations, carries campaign broadcasts during general election and referendum campaigns.
The Electoral Commission
Head of Media and Public Affairs
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London, EC1Y 8YZ
The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 requires the proposed criteria for Party Election Broadcasts to be sent to the Electoral Commission for comment. They attend BLG meetings as an observer.