Smaller political parties in Northern Ireland have been disenfranchised by a BBC Trust decision to change the criteria for access to election broadcasts, the Workers Party has claimed.
Parties must now stand a minimum of 12 candidates across six constituencies in order to qualify for a television or radio election broadcast.
In a joint statement issued by the Party’s four Assembly candidates the Party said
‘The BBC’s decision to change the criteria clearly disadvantages, and effectively disenfranchises, smaller parties in Northern Ireland’.
‘The big parties in the Assembly already hold a significant media advantage and their press officers are also supported from public funds. The BBC’s decision consolidates their position at the expense of smaller parties, it restricts the political discourse and it reduces the information available to the electorate’.
‘As Northern Ireland’s public service broadcaster the BBC has duty to provide a platform for the entire political spectrum – not just the larger parties. Voters here have been let down and the political process has been devalued as a result of this anti-democratic decision’, the statement concluded.