By a Newsnet reporter
Glasgow Rangers has announced that it has withdrawn all cooperation with the BBC over what it claims are repeated examples of inaccurate and unfair reporting by the broadcaster that fell well below acceptable journalistic standards.
The club’s decision follows what it termed “repeated difficulties” with the state broadcaster and comes days before a scheduled BBC documentary the club claims is no more than a “prejudiced muckraking exercise”.
A statement placed on the club’s website, said: “Rangers Football Club is withdrawing all co-operation with the BBC as of today. The decision has been taken due to the repeated difficulties the Club has encountered with the BBC this season.”
“The Club was forced earlier in the season to suspend co-operation with the BBC over its serious misrepresentation of the Club manager’s position on violence and sectarianism. There have also been other instances where the BBC’s reporting on the club’s affairs has been neither accurate or fair.”
“Furthermore, over the last few weeks the BBC has been involved in making a documentary about the Club which appears to be little more than a prejudiced muckraking exercise. Efforts to ensure that reporting of the Club’s affairs should be balanced and fair appear to have been in vain.”
“The Club believes that the BBC has on a number of occasions now demonstrated a pre-determined negative attitude towards Rangers and its fans and its journalism has fallen well short of acceptable standards.”
“The decision to end co-operation with the BBC has been taken very reluctantly but the Club feels it has been left with no other option.”
In response BBC Scotland issued a statement that said: “Rangers FC has made a number of assertions in relation to our journalistic standards, including a claim of underlying bias against the club. We completely refute this allegation in the strongest terms.”
“All of our reporting of matters pertinent to the running of Rangers FC reflects the high standard expected of the BBC, an organisation that places an absolute value on the accuracy and impartiality of its journalism.”
“The club has also made specific criticisms of a documentary scheduled for transmission at 19:00 on BBC One Scotland on Thursday 20 October.”
“We have assured them that rigorous editorial standards will be applied and nothing will be broadcast that is not both accurate and in the public interest.”
The latest row follows a similar episode at the start of the season when the club took action after the BBC spliced footage of manager Ally McCoist together in such a manner that Mr McCoist appeared to smirk in an item about sectarianism. The broadcaster issued a swift apology when Rangers subsequently refused to speak to BBC presenters.
A similar incident last year saw the BBC splice two video clips of First Minister Alex Salmond and John Swinney together that gave a false impression of Mr Salmond mocking the Finance Secretary. However the BBC defended the action despite complaints from members of the public after the item appeared on Reporting Scotland.
Actual footage obtained from the Scottish parliament
The latest spat will prove embarrassing for BBC Scotland, coming so soon after the announcement of journalistic staff cuts and an insistence from BBC Scotland head Ken MacQuarrie that quality and standards would be maintained.