Snap protest against BBC referendum bias set to take place


  By a Newsnet reporter
Pro-independence supporters are to take part in a protest against what they say is the repeated favouring of the No campaign by the BBC.
A snap demo, which was announced today via social media, has already witnessed hundreds of people confirm their attendance, with thousands more invited.

The silent protest, which is scheduled to take place at midday on Sunday, calls for anyone unhappy at the BBC’s coverage of the independence referendum to come along to the BBC’s Glasgow HQ at Pacific Quay.

Described as a “peaceful protest” by the organisers, those planning to attend are being encouraged to bring along a copy of the Sunday Herald in a symbolic show of support for the newspaper which recently came out in favour of Yes.

The protest follows similar demonstrations and marches against the BBC’s pro-Union news output.  It also follows recent episodes which has witnessed stories harmful to the No campaign being censored by the BBC from its news output.

The BBC has also come under fire after it refused to resign its £20,000 membership of pro-Union lobbying group the CBI.

In a statement on its Facebook page, organisers of the protest say: “Bring a Sunday herald along to BBC – Tell Lies Vision (Glasgow) for a quiet protest showing we are aware of bias and wish for fair coverage of Scotland’s independence” 

The snap protest was called on the day that the formal referendum campaign began, with strict rules being imposed on campaigners and broadcasters.  However pressure has been building on the BBC over its handling of the referendum with Yes supporters complaining about the corporation’s pro-Union bias.

Recent examples include the refusal to report comments from leading No figure Lord George Robertson who called for Vladimir Putin to be invited to join NATO.  The Labour peer’s comments were condemned by the leading Ukrainian group in the UK.

The blackout came despite the BBC giving high profile news coverage to criticism of remarks made by First minister Alex Salmond who had also commented on the Russian President.

Two recent academic studies have found evidence of bias against independence in both TV news and radio output from the BBC.  Evening TV news, including from STV, was found to favour the No campaign by a ratio of 2 to 1. 

BBC Scotland’s flagship radio news programme Good Morning Scotland was found to have led news bulletins with more pro-Union stories than pro-independence, whilst interviewers were discovered to have been far more aggressive with Yes figures than their pro-Union counterparts.

In January this year the BBC Trust found BBC Scotland guilty of having misled the public after a Reporting Scotland item from January 2013 on EU membership post-independence, misrepresented an Irish politician.

The reporter responsible, Raymond Buchanan, resigned from the BBC days before the Trust announced its intention to carry out an investigation.

Despite the guilty verdict, BBC Scotland management refused to apologise and have yet to issue any correction.  Complaints from the politician, Lucinda Creighton, were never reported by the BBC in any news programme.

Related Article: The Dirty Dozen – The case against BBC Scotland