BBC Scotland accused of showing ‘lazy and misleading’ EU report


  By a Newsnet reporter
A report broadcast by BBC Scotland has been denounced as “misleading” after it implied the negotiation process experienced by the EU’s newest member state had parallels with a newly independent Scotland.
Prospective MEP Tony Giugliano has criticised BBC Scotland after the broadcaster suggested to viewers that a newly independent Scotland would find itself outside the EU and would find it “tougher” to gain entry.

The item, which was broadcast on Sunday’s Politics Show, saw Croatia’s ambassador interviewed by BBC Scotland presenter Niall O’Gallagher.  In the item, viewers were “warned” that negotiations could be difficult and that “getting in” to the EU “would only get tougher”.

However Mr Giugliano, who will stand in the EU elections for the SNP, slammed the broadcast and pointed out that Scotland was already a member of the European Union and meets all legal conditions to remain a member after a Yes vote.

He told Newsnet Scotland: “The purpose of the EU accession process is to bring the national laws of new member states in line with European laws.  Scotland already transposes EU legislation and meets the full acquis communautaire.

“A detailed scrutiny of the 35 accession chapters would be unnecessary given that Scotland has applied the EU’s policies and regulations for the past 40 years.”

He lambasted the BBC for attempting to suggest that Scotland’s situation following a Yes vote had parallels with Croatia, and added:

“For the BBC to compare Scotland’s post independence status with that of Croatia – a brand new member state – is lazy, simplistic and frankly misleading.

“It wouldn’t be in anyone’s interest to delay Scotland’s EU membership process or exclude Scotland even for a single day.  What would happen to the thousands of students from across the continent who freely study at Scottish institutions? The 140,000 EU nationals who work here?

“What would happen to Spanish fishermen who make a living from Scottish waters?  Would the EU, in difficult economic circumstances, seriously reject a net contributor to the EU budget?”

The criticism of the broadcaster comes in the same week that an appeal is to be heard into claims BBC Scotland misled viewers over the views of a foreign minister over the EU status of an independent Scotland.  BBC Scotland also faces claims it employed a news blackout when the minister complained.

The BBC Trust will hear evidence from BBC Scotland and a complainant who has been pursuing the broadcaster for almost a year since it controversially claimed that Irish European Minister Lucinda Creighton had implied a Yes vote would see Scotland ejected from the EU.

Ms Creighton subsequently complained that her words had been “misconstrued”, “spun” and “manipulated” and made it clear she was in agreement with the SNP Government over its timetable for EU membership following a Yes vote which could, she agreed, be concluded with Scotland remaining a member. 

However the BBC refused to include the minister’s remarks in any news reports, and claimed they were not news.

Concerns over the ability and willingness of BBC Scotland to present the independence debate in a balanced and impartial manner have continued to grow after recent claims from a former BBC presenter that the Labour party were allowed to influence political content.

Derek Bateman, who was a presenter at the BBC for over twenty years, recently revealed that the Head of News and Current Affairs at BBC Scotland, John Boothman, had attempted to influence the content of political programmes after being contacted by a Labour party official.

The revelations resulted in another complaint against the BBC in Scotland which Newsnet Scotland understands is continuing.