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A BBC Scotland complaint – Brexit story placement on Reporting Scotland – Towards Indyref2…

A BBC Scotland complaint – Brexit story placement on Reporting Scotland

The following is a complaint lodged with the BBC following the January 30th edition of tea-time Reporting Scotland.  The programme featured a story on Brexit that was placed fifth in the order of prioritu that evening.


Full complaint submitted January 31st

On January 30th the 18:30 edition of Reporting Scotland covered a story that had broken earlier that day.  The story centred around an alleged leak of UK Government analysis that showed any Brexit deal would harm the UK economy.

The story, despite being the biggest story that day, found itself placed only fifth on the flagship evening news programme.  As can be seen from the clip below, stories deemed of greater significance included a pay offer to Scottish Firemen, Freedom of Information requests submitted to the Scottish NHS by BBC Scotland, Scottish Labour party suspension and calls by Unionist MSPs for Michael Matheson to resign.

The placement of the Brexit related story was not in keeping with its significance.  All four of the stories deemed more newsworthy paled in comparison with the leak.  Indeed at least one of them [Calls for Michael Matheson to resign] was a near repeat of a story that led Reporting Scotland two days earlier.  See below.

The Brexit analysis leak should have been given a higher priority than fifth place on the programme.  More so given that the First Minister issued an official statement following the revelation.

This complaint may seem vexatious given it relates to the placement of one story on one programme.  However it should be noted that an earlier complaint submitted by myself, and yet to be addressed, highlighted a similar pattern over several months on this edition of Reporting Scotland.

A look at Brexit related items from August through to October 20th shows a very worrying trend.  A Brexit related story led Reporting Scotland on just six occasions.  Meanwhile Brexit related stories were placed fifth or more in the running order or ignored completely a total of twenty times.  The worst of the ‘ignored’ stories was a speech given by the First Minister in Dublin on October 8th in which she focused on Brexit.


Response from the editor of Reporting Scotland received February 12th

Thank you for being in touch about the teatime edition on 30th January. I have looked again at this programme and am confident that it was fully in accord with the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines.

Together, Nick Eardley’s report on Reporting Scotland and John Pienaar’s on Network News provided comprehensive coverage from both a UK and a Scottish perspective; but had you watched only Nick’s report you would have seen a comprehensive explanation of the leaked document and parliamentary reactions from both Holyrood and Westminster.

Thank you again for your interest in our output.

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5 thoughts on “A BBC Scotland complaint – Brexit story placement on Reporting Scotland

  1. Robert Graham

    Anyone who has gone through the complaints procedure of the bbc will know how you feel , it’s a bit like arguing with a answering machine and in the end just as pointless , it’s designed to make you give up the will to live ,in the end you might receive a token acknowledgement and a lame excuse of why you are wrong and they are right .

    ITV are every bit as bad so remote and made to sap your very soul unless you persevere in the end most people just give up , and thats what they want .

  2. William Reid

    The BBC Scotland news programmes are a disgrace not only do they select what their directors tell them to they forget they are a Public broadcaster who neither give a fair hearing to a number of organisations even a football club gets no representation from the BBC when they give news conferences they believe they can say and do what they want

  3. Clydebuilt

    Today on BBC Uk wide broadcast:

    Between progs. On BBC 1 at 9pm “Openess” Wild camping in Glencoe.

    Steve Wrights afternoon slot Radio2 . . . . and a hi from Mr. and Mrs Smith “on their way to the island of Mull we’re passing Loch Lomond, the scenery is beautiful”

    Eagles Hotel California ” Call a place Heaven wave it Goodbye”

    In Scotland’s case it’s all about stacking the odds against Independence

  4. Phil

    Don’t forget the BBC’s careful attention to detail on their website … After Fleggate they headed their front page of newspapers review with “Dominates”. In fact they showed that 3 out of 12 papers had Fleggate as the main story.

    Four days after my complaint they wrote:

    “We appreciate you drawing this matter to our attention. The wording has now been amended to read: “The row over guidelines for flying the Union Jack over public buildings in Scotland story continues to feature prominently on some of the front pages.”

    So; by the time this page had reached everyone’s Bin it was corrected. See! Care for the community and attention to detail.

  5. Edward Coyle

    Like the Labour party, the Conservative party, the Liberal party BBC Scotland is just another branch office. The branch offices duty is to reinforce the institutions line.

    On a similar point why are there party political broadcasts from both The Labour Party and Scottush Labour, The Scottish Conservative Party and the Conservative Party, The Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Democrats?

    I think that there are journalists and workers at BBC Scotland can see the propaganda but can’t or won’t speak up

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