By Martin Kelly

The SNP has called on the BBC to set out detailed plans for how it intends to address issues raised in a new report published by the Audience Council Scotland.

According to the report, BBC Scotland needs a “thorough reassessment” of its news output with viewers north of the border questioning the broadcaster’s impartiality over its covering of the independence referendum.

Yesterday the BBC Trust’s advisory body raised concerns after it revealed audiences in Scotland feel important Scottish issues and stories, “continue to be underexposed on network news”.

The report also stated that “members noted a long-term issue for the BBC about how accurate and impartial it was to broadcast programmes reflecting the political culture of one nation across the whole of the UK.”

The report added: “Some in the audience felt the analysis could have been pushed further, others that the balance was not always maintained.”

The SNP has previously expressed concern that job losses and cuts at BBC Scotland could adversely impact the quality of the corporation’s output – and lead to a poorer product for BBC viewers in Scotland.  Only last week the BBC announced plans to cut another 415 jobs by 2016/17.

Commenting, SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell said the report was a “timely reminder” of the corporation’s responsibilities to viewers in Scotland.

Mr Maxwell said the report raised, “a number of serious concerns which the BBC simply can’t ignore.”

He added: “The BBC Trust has already said it will work with the BBC to address the issues raised by the Audience Council – but these issues are too important to kick into the long grass.

“The BBC should come up with detailed plans on how it intends to address these issues – and ensure that viewers in Scotland get the first-class public broadcasting service they deserve.”

The report is published just days before a third peaceful protest is scheduled to take place outside the BBC’s Scottish HQ.  This Sunday will see hundreds of people gather at Pacific Quay in protest at what they say is the BBC’s one sided coverage of the independence referendum.

Speaking to Newsnet Scotland, a spokesperson explained the reasoning behind the protests.

She said: “This will be our third protest in as many months and we have watched them grow from just over two hundred to at least 1500 at the last event.

“The two previous events have been good-humoured and incident free.

“We have consulted Police Scotland, who have been fantastic, and this third event will see male and female stewards present.”

On BBC Scotland’s handling of the independence referendum, the spokesperson added:

“Only yesterday a report from the Audience Council highlighted concerns at BBC Scotland’s news and current affairs output.

“Management continually claim everything is all right and they are doing a great job broadcasting the referendum, but time and again we see examples of news manipulation and suppression in favour of the No campaign.

Referring to online media, she said: “BBC Scotland refuses to include any pro-independence news outlets in online and radio news previews, yet we are bombarded with headlines from right-wing Unionist newspapers like the Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

On news she said: “Last week a Better Together press release, which followed a speech from new EC President Jean-Claude Juncker, made it onto Reporting Scotland despite no basic journalistic checks being carried out.  It later emerged that the EC President was not even referring to Scotland.

“On Sunday we learned that a researcher on the BBC referendum debates has been sending private emails to Better Together to give them a ‘head start’ in getting supporters to attend the debates.”

The spokesperson insisted the demonstration was necessary and highlighted a ruling by the BBC’s own Trust which found BBC Scotland guilty of having broken editorial guidelines on accuracy.

She added: “Despite having been found guilty by their own watchdog, BBC Scotland has still to apologise for misleading the public over the Lucinda Creighton episode – and that offending broadcast was a year and a half ago.

“Nobody else is going to challenge this institution, so we have to do it ourselves.”

Sunday’s demonstration will hear from speakers including Maryhill Foodbank volunteer Julie Webster, Indy Cyclist Mark Coburn and Socialist Tommy Sheridan.  There will also be music from Citizen Smart, Fifty Shades of Blue, and others.

The peaceful protest against ‘BBC Bias’ will take place between 2pm and 3:30pm on Sunday 27th July next to the IMAX.


2014-07-23 06:14

The BBC and media at large will find it hard to recover any credibility post referendum regardless of outcome. The damage has been done and its entirely self inflicted.
2014-07-23 06:43

Seconded and carried unanimously!

Citizen journalism has taken over from the MSM and will continue long after September.

2014-07-23 06:23

If the BBC was a horse, you’d have shot it a long time ago.
Unfit for purpose. Period.
2014-07-23 06:29

While the BBC just brush off any criticism over their Indy coverage in the hope that anything serious can be defended after the referendum, they are a lost cause to Scots.

They really do not care, securing the Union for Westminster is their mantra, at all costs if needs be. They ARE the establishment, and are not likely to change their spots this side of the referendum. They are utterly contemptible

We will make sure the world is aware when the SBC arrives.
2014-07-23 06:59

It has taken the Referendum coverage to reveal what many of us have said for years. The BBC is untrustworthy and now I am afraid I question all and everything I see and hear. I have stopped listening to the Radio from Scotland, I have even got to the point when I hear Scotland and I am on Radio 4 it gets switched off.
I think they think we are all gullible, where they got that idea is sometimes understandable if you look at those we elect to represent us, but we are not all the same.
There will be no change, not until we get to the 19th September and they have their answer. It is up to us to give them the answer they do not want and that is YES.
2014-07-23 08:08

The privileged position the BBC holds is untenable.
There are several layers of failure:
it’s one sided examination of the independence issues, which call into question its treatment of any major issue;
the deliberate misrepresentati  on of factual information, as in the statements from EU Ministers and Representatives  ;
its presentation of its own written policies of journalism as a shield then ignoring these policies.
the legal protection of its funding which circumvents user pressure;
no independent examination of failings.
Parliament doesn’t count as the BBC has now shown it can be bought and sold by the power groups in Parliament.
2014-07-23 08:12

referendum ceasefire during the games?
Not for the BBC which puts its unionist spin on every games’ report.
Jock Scot
2014-07-23 10:03

Having been born in the 50/60’s, the team at Yew Choob are genuinely saddened by what the BBC has the opening line in the song says..”When we grew up we looked to you, for entertainment facts and News..” This music video has been released in support of the people who have taken to the streets or gone online to protest at the bias….BECOME THE MEDIA
2014-07-23 11:15

Can I suggest that folk check their travel plans and work out their route to get there as I think with the commonwealth games being on there may be quite a few street closures which may impact on people reaching this important demo.
Every week the BBC misrepresents issues surrounding independence and ignores anything positive which would be of benefit to the YES campaign. We must be heard.
Democracy is too important to be treated in this way.
Scotland`s future is too important to be stolen from it by a corrupt broadcaster which is just one of many corrupt British institutions used by an elite to keep their cosy lifestyles at the expense of the greater population.
2014-07-23 11:28


The people who control these morally bankrupt BBC Scotland puppets have succeeded in denying Scots an open and honest debate about independence.

“Scottish democracy” is being held hostage by a faceless, unaccountable, self-serving elite.

This is a very serious problem for ALL SCOTS regardless of the referendum outcome.
2014-07-23 13:19

It is obvious that the BBC cannot bring itself to report truthfully what’s happening in Scotland.

If they can’t report news from our own country about what’s happening, how can we expect to know the truth about what’s happening in the rest of the world?

Well past its sell by date for a clear out.

Why do the Scottish Government continue to let them broadcast “News” from the Scottish Parliament.

We should start by letting them know they are no longer welcome in Holyrood, there are other ways and other reporters ( Derek Bateman for example) who could be relied upon to do a much more professional job.
2014-07-23 14:15

Years ago the idea of the Scottish Six O’clock news was binned but that’s what should have happened. All news reporting should have been from Scotland not that daft half and half rubbish, London followed by the “news from where you are”. (James Robertson did a great piece on that recently and highlighted just how condescending it is.) Individual Scottish, Welsh and NI news at 6 should have been established. Collaboration across the BBC could have slotted reporters from other areas or abroad where necessary, into the one news broadcast. But the London centric mob couldn’t give up their power trip. Only they could “speak to the nation”. I hope they recognise the really rubbish job they’ve done!
2014-07-23 17:17

The BBC in Scotland has been exposed as a malevolent hidden hand seeking to manipulate Scottish public life, and thereby undermining our democracy.

They are the core of an orchestrated media cabal seeking to influence and control Scottish political opinion.

This isn’t something Scots can ignore, not if we want to call ourselves a “free” and democratic country.

Regardless of the referendum outcome the Scottish government must act to stop this malignant disease that is stifling economic and social progress in Scotland.
2014-07-24 06:08

Jock Scot, Ninja, and co,
brilliant as ever,
Jock the invite offered at the newsrooms stands anytime you like, I’ll come and get you. I’m only five minutes away. 🙂

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