BBC Scotland says referendum media report contains 'fundamental errors'


Director of BBC Scotland Ken MacQuarrie told MSPs a report highlighting bias against the yes campaign in the TV coverage of the independence referendum had "fundamental errors", on 11 March 2014.

Mr MacQuarrie was joined by the head of news and current affairs John Boothman, the head of Commonwealth Games 2014 Bruce Malcolm and the editor of the referendum unit John Mullin, in giving evidence to the Education and Culture Committee.

Earlier this year University of the West of Scotland Professor John Robertson published his research into BBC and STV coverage of the Scottish referendum campaign from September 2012 to September 2013.

In his submission to the committee Professor Robertson stated: "Taken together, we have evidence of coverage which seems likely to have damaged the Yes campaign."

In the first evidence session the media analyst condemned BBC Scotland for the ""suppressing the dissemination of my research".

Mr MacQuarrie said: "We read the report with some interest, but we have some serious concerns with it.

The director of BBC Scotland added: "These pertain in particular to elements of its methodology and to its factual accuracy, its findings and its conclusions."

"In all of these areas we believe the report displays fundamental errors, and it is for this reason that we questions its validity."

He also said the content and tone of the communication from BBC Scotland to the author of the report had been "entirely proper".

A spokesperson for STV, at the time of the publication of the report, said: "We are confident that our editorial coverage referred to in this research is impartial."

You can watch part one of the Education and Culture Committee's evidence session with Professor Robertson here: Education and Culture Committee 1

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