Nicola Sturgeon has said her ability to communicate directly with the public is “more important than ever”, following news the BBC is changing its approach to televising her coronavirus briefings.
The First Minister said it is for the corporation rather than politicians to decide what is televised, but she said the live briefing broadcasts are beneficial to older people.
The BBC has said it will continue to stream the briefings live online, but will only televise them when major developments are expected.
Ms Sturgeon was asked about the issue during Friday’s briefing.
She said: “What is broadcast on the BBC is a matter for the BBC but we are in unique circumstances right now and the ability for me and my colleagues to communicate directly with the public has never been more important than it is right now.
“I have always taken great care to try not to stray into political territory, I’m not saying I’ve never slipped up – I am fallible.
“But I’ve always recognised my responsibility to keep these briefings very much on topic because I want people regardless of their politics to be able to listen and hear the messages that are so important.”
She said older people who do not have access to the internet and people with disabilities have found the briefings “particularly important”, saying there has been “fantastic BSL translation throughout all of this”.
The First Minister added: “All I would ask is that they (the BBC) take all of that into account in the decisions that they make.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney had earlier encouraged the BBC to keep televising the briefings.
He was asked about the corporation’s decision during an interview on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme.
“I think it’s a matter of regret,” he said.
“There’s a lot of commentary from people who are talking about, for example, older people who maybe don’t have access to internet technology, who actually look to the briefing to give them clarity about what is happening in relation to coronavirus.”
The briefings are currently shown live on both BBC One Scotland and the BBC Scotland channel, with some coverage also included as part of BBC Radio Scotland’s Lunchtime Live programme.
These will be scaled back as business at Holyrood is returning to a more normal basis.
A spokesman for the broadcaster said on Thursday: “We will continue to provide extensive coverage of the Government press conferences across our news services, including live streaming online.
“We will of course consider showing press conferences live when any major developments or updates are anticipated.”