By a Newsnet reporter
An academic whose research found broadcasters were favouring the No campaign in their coverage of the independence referendum, has been interviewed by a Russian TV channel.
Professor John Robertson, who has carried out two studies into referendum coverage, was invited to appear on RT News UK in order to discuss his academic work.

The University of the West of Scotland academic discovered early evening news on both BBC Scotland and STV had favoured the No campaign by a ratio of 2 to 1.  The study had taken place over the course of a year.

Professor Robertson found a similar pattern when he conducted a month long study into Radio Scotland’s flagship news programme Good Morning Scotland.

That study was commissioned by Newsnet Scotland and found referendum coverage was more likely to lead with a story favouring the No campaign than one favouring Yes.  The study also found a tendency on the part of interviewers to adopt a more aggressive stance with Yes figures than when interviewing their No campaign counterparts.

Professor Robertson recently criticised the Scottish media for refusing to report his findings.

In a recent interview with the Drum magazine, the academic said it was, “worrying that research of this kind is required in a democracy, and it is similarly worrying that this report has been largely ignored by the BBC and mainstream media.”

Professor Robertson added that the failure of any media in Scotland to seriously address the issues raised in the report was a concerning development.

“I fear we have witnessed the collusion of broadsheet, radio and TV journalists in their refusal to criticise each other’s ethical behaviour. Until this point, I naively though Scotland was rather more equipped to expose elite collusions,”

In an ironic twist, Newsnet Scotland has learned that the RT interview took place in the very heart of the BBC in Scotland after the Russian broadcaster booked a studio at Pacific Quay.

Commenting, Professor Robertson said: “I was pleasantly surprised when RT contacted me and asked for an interview, and even more surprised when I learned the interview would take place at the BBC’s Pacific Quay HQ.  I have to say RT were both gracious and fair in their questioning.
“Aside from a short interview on a Saturday morning BBC radio programme and a paragraph in one newspaper, neither of which went into my findings in depth, the Scottish media has failed to show the remotest interest in my research.
“It does not reflect well on Scotland’s media when an academic study which finds our broadcasters are favouring one side in this important referendum, is effectively ignored.”
The academic, who recently spoke at a protest against the BBC’s anti-independence bias, added:

“The BBC in Scotland, and to a lesser extent STV, might do well to reflect that dissenting voices are now relying on Russian broadcast media in order to be heard.”

It is not yet known when the fifteen minute interview will be broadcast.


2014-07-04 17:31

What a shameful indictment of the so-called “Scottish” media that Professor Robertson has been forced to rely on a foreign TV station to make his findings public.
The “Scottish” media has colluded in the most disgracefully undemocratic fashion to try to stop Professor Robertson’s findings becoming widely known.
BBC Scotland’s attempt to silence Professor Robertson by writing to his employer is, ironically, the type of thing we might have expected of the Soviet newspaper Pravda during the Cold War.
The BBC has fully exposed itself as nothing more than the propaganda wing of the UK government.
2014-07-04 17:53

All credit to Prof.Robertson and RT.
No credit to unionist MSM.
2014-07-04 18:52

I would be very careful about crediting RT, they are entirely government funded. Putin bankrolls the whole shebang if I understand correctly.

Then again, you could argue reasonably accurately that it brings a completely different and fresh perspective to the same stories in our MSM – especially the BBC. At least you have a choice…which is nice

2014-07-04 18:26

Kudos to Prof Robertson, he is standing his corner, pity there are few like him.
He is a breath of fresh air.
2014-07-04 18:46

Can’t help but find it curious how Russia Today seem so supportive of those pointing out bias in BBC Scotland when at least two of their own employees have resigned over the pro-Russian bias Russia Today have shown over the Russia/Ukraine situation.
2014-07-04 23:28

If only the BBC had similarly principled journalists.

At least they have not ‘disappeared’ journalists who disagree with their view.
2014-07-05 15:18

Didn’t know 2 had resigned but it’s claimed one was a set up as an American channel announced the announcer had walked off a live set before she had actually done it.

2014-07-04 18:53

Putin the boot in.
2014-07-04 19:41

When I was at th Bannockburn Festival there were TV crews from other countries.
A friend sent a link to a news program in Germany which I watched. They did a reasonable amount, talking about independence and spoke to several people.
No sign of the BBC.
2014-07-04 19:48

Even if RT IS biased it doesn’t excuse such shameful politically-motivated censorship of scientific research by the so-called “Scottish” media and the BBC. Clearly some people have never heard of the old saying: “two wrongs don’t make a right”.
2014-07-04 21:31

Al Jazeera have some decent items on Scotland from time to time. Very concise, but very fair too. I’ve heard many of their people are ex BBC World Service people.
I can’t lie, I do harbour suspicions about RT and AJ and their true colours; my enemy’s enemy is my friend type of thing, but in the absence of a diligent Scottish News Media, they are the next best thing, and infinitely superior to the discredited BBC.
The problem is the BBC can play upon Cold War and Middle East prejudices to diffuse criticism from RT and AJ.
Leader of the Pack
2014-07-05 07:30

“The BBC in Scotland, and to a lesser extent STV, might do well to reflect that dissenting voices are now relying on Russian broadcast media in order to be heard.”

RT have been banned on reporting anything on Scot Indy in UK by UK media regulator according to RT on facebook.
2014-07-05 09:39

I do not think dissenting independence voices are turning to the Russian media outlets for the truth.

This is a very stupid comment.
2014-07-05 10:03

What does it say about a ‘democratic’ country such as Scotland that an honest and principled academic such as Prof. Robertson is silenced by our entire media?

It tells us that we do not live in a democracy. It tells us that we are a colony oppressed and run by a devious and ruthless State intent on holding us fast until they have extracted every last resource from us.

It tells us that those who turn away from this self-evident truth are not only betraying themselves and their country, but also their children and grandchildren.

It tells you that the No supporters, unlike their leaders, are slaves in everything but name.

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