Free Speech For Young People

The new series of TV debate program- Free Speech on BBC, returned last night for the first show of the new season. It was broadcast live from Edinburgh, to capture the feeling of a country about to vote on one of the biggest decisions it's ever made. If you haven't seen the program before, as the name suggests it's a filmed forum for debate. Young people in particular are able to express their opinions on the topics of the day throughout the program. Free Speech is also a fantastic example of the use of social media to capture the responses of televised debates, from the viewers at home.

I was looking forward to this particular episode because the main topic of discussion was Scottish independence. A topic that I'll be discussing tomorrow evening, when attending a conference based in the Wales Millennium Centre with the BBC. Where I'll more specifically be looking at what effect Scottish independence could have on Wales. What's going on in Scotland is absolutely fascinating because as a fellow devolved nation, it begs the question as to whether this is something that Wales might want to do in the future too. Tomorrow I'll be joining Ministers and Assembly members to listen to their thoughts on the possible repercussions for Wales from the Scottish vote.

On last night's episode of Free Speech presented by Rick Edwards and Tina Daheley, were joined by a panel of four experts- Joan McAlpine (MSP) and actor Martin Compston on the yes vote side. With Hugo Rifkind (journalist) and Ruth Davidson (MSP) on the side against Scotland voting for independence. The young people in the audience were then given the opportunity to ask questions to the panel or to express an opinion, to add to the topic of debate. What was very innovative about the show as well, was that possible questions to put to the panel are put up on Facebook in the days leading up to the show. So that viewers are able to vote for the most burning questions that they want answered on the day. Viewers are also able to live tweet their questions and comments to the show, some of which are then read out on air. So both those people in the studio and at home can feel completely engaged in the debate.

This integration of social media into the BBC 3 TV program was particularly relevant to the topic of debate, because this is the first time in the UK that people as young as 16 are able to vote on something so momentous. So it only seems right that young people are given an opportunity to debate and voice opinions, in a way that appeals to them. Which ever way you think Scotland should vote a week tomorrow, whether it be for independence or not. I think it's great that young people are getting the opportunity to have their say and cast their vote on the things that will effect their future.

Images from BBC 3 Free Speech Facebook


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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