The Editor of Reporting Scotland has defended the ommision of two Brexit related stories from an edition of the programme saying one of the stories was covered elsewhere on the BBC.
In a response to a complaint from a licence payer, the official said the running order and contents of the programme were decided in accordance with events that day.
On February 7th, the 18:30 edition of Reporting Scotland was broadcast with the resignation of the Chief Constable of Police Scotland as the top item. Other stories which followed included an item on a faulty boiler installation, two lost skiers being found and an item of clothing worn at the Superbowl by pop star Justin Timberlake.
However missing from the programme were two Brexit related stories that had emerged earlier that day. The biggest was a House of Commons publication of a breakdown of the Brexit Analysis papers that had been leaked just over a week earlier.
The papers showed that Brexit would have a negative impact on Scottish growth. The impact on Scotland was worse than the UK average. The papers called into question comments made by David Mundell on November 2nd when he gave evidence to a Holyrood Committee.
Also missing from the programme was Scottish Government analysis published that day that concluded UK Govt plans to cut net migration could cost Scotland’s economy up to £10bn. A complaint to the BBC queried the ommission of both stories from the programme.
Responding, the Editor of Reporting Scotland: “The biggest story that night was the resignation of the Chief Constable of Police Scotland. The running order and its contents were decided in accordance with events that day, as is the case every day.
The Editor added: “The BBC carried the ‘Brexit’ story on other platforms, including an online BBC Scotland version ‘Brexit ‘could hit Scottish growth by 9%’
“Also on the Scotland-politics site is a story from 2nd November last year about the Secretary of State telling the Europe Committee of the Scottish Parliament that there was no “Scotland-specific” analysis and that, of reports on 58 economic sectors, none was specifically about Scotland.
“All the stories to which you refer were, as all stories are, subjected to rigorous scrutiny and consideration platform by platform and their inclusion or exclusion is a matter for the editorial judgement of our journalists.”
In a statement to this site, the individual who submitted the complaint said: “The response from the Editor of Reporting Scotland completely fails to explain why these two Brexit stories were ignored.
“Pointing out that other platforms carried one of the stories makes it all the more bizarre that Scotland’s number one TV news programme didn’t.
“Moreover, by pointing to an online article which covered David Mundell’s claim that no Scotland specific analysis existed, the Editor actually makes the case that the papers’ publication should have been covered, as they appear to disprove what Mundell said.”
The issue is the second time Reporting Scotland’s coverage of Brexit has been called into question. The programme has been accused of operating a policy that results in Brexit related stories being pushed down the running order or ignored altogether.
Last night a story involving Ruth Davidson and four of her Scottish MPs who are demanding a so-called hard Brexit, was relegated to seventh on Reporting Scotland. Two days earlier, the refusal of Unionist MPs to attend a Brexit sitting of the Scottish Affairs Committee, held in Kirkcaldy, was ignored completely.
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