Calls for an end to ‘media bias and negativity’


By a Newsnet reporter
The Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) has called for an end to what it describes as the “media bias and negativity” it claims is harming the independence debate.
The body, which is in favour of independence, described as “distortion” much of what is written by many Scottish correspondents and journalists.

In a statement released to the media yesterday, an SIC spokesman called for an end to the “churnalism” he claimed was harming the debate and threatening the very survival of some Scottish newspapers.

“The Scottish Independence Convention remains appalled at the negativity not just of the No campaign but of the mainstream media in this country.” he said.

Citing BBC Scotland pundit and Guardian reporter, Severin Carrell as an example of the prejudice and partiality that was hitting newspaper circulation, he added:

“Severin Carrell wrote yesterday in The Guardian that: ‘Alex Salmond has handed over control of the campaign for Scottish independence to a former BBC News executive and an ex-Labour MP in an effort to distance it from the Scottish National party.’

“This is clearly nonsense as the Yes campaign has been established to reach out beyond and across party barriers.

“This is a known and stated aim and one that is shared with the SIC.  It has been repeatedly stated by Angus Robertson – publicly and privately – that the Yes campaign needs to be beyond and above any single party.”

Highlighting the exposure of corrupt practices uncovered by the Leveson inquiry and what he called, “the inherent bias built into the Scottish and UK media” the spokesman said Scotland was now witnessing a blossoming of new digital media as a result of this kind of reporting.

Calling for “a better media”, he added: “This has been, and can be more and more a flowering of creativity as much as an attempt to correct prejudice and partiality.

“Amazing projects like Northern Lights and Blipfoto are as much a part of this flowering as are sites such as Newsnet Scotland and the hundreds of blogs (of all political parties and none) that have flourished.

“You cannot separate the need for an independent media with the arguments for self-determination.  As long as the unionist press insists on the churnalism of negativity and distortion they are likely to see the continuing downward spiral of newspaper sales.”

The calls came on the same day that it emerged BBC Chiefs in London have ‘barred’ reporters from using the word ‘No’ when referring to the anti-independence campaign ‘Better Together’.

The broadcaster’s London bosses have claimed to use ‘No’ to describe the campaign against independence would “rob it of context”.

The move by BBC bosses brings the broadcaster into line with the pro-Union campaign strategy that seeks to avoid mention of the word ‘No’ because of its negative connotations.

Launched last week, the Better Together campaign was also reported to be seeking to avoid the use of the word ‘Union’, fearing that it too has negative connotations.

Many observers noted that BBC Scotland continually refused to use the word ‘Union’ when reporting on the launch – which saw Labour form an alliance with the Tories and Lib Dems in response to ‘Yes Scotland’ – and instead insisted that the tri-party alliance was brought together to maintain the ‘United Kingdom’.