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Michael Russell brands BBC’s coverage of Scotland an ‘open sore’

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THE institutional treatment of Scotland by the BBC is and will remain an open sore until we have our own broadcaster in an independent nation, writes Michael Russell in The National.

The political bias imbalance which has been steadily spreading through the BBC since its inception is the worst it has ever been, he adds.

Appreciating that everyday citizens now have their own personal “broadcast” opportunities, he says it does not detract from the fact that the bias of the “national” media has grown stronger.

Russell said: “Every time I speak at an SNP branch or constituency meeting someone asks about the bias of the media.

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READ MORE: Michael Russell: Why the BBC’s treatment of Scotland is an open sore

“Certainly, some of the written press is a cauldron of SNP-bad vitriol but – to put it bluntly – it is entitled to be so. There is no regulation that forces impartiality on written news … but broadcasting is another matter.

“There are laws regarding balance and there is a particular obligation on the ‘state broadcaster’, the BBC, contained in its charter and enshrined in its history.”

Following last week’s revelations about Question Time from host Fiona Bruce, many independence supporters’ fears were confirmed: Scotland’s voice is becoming smaller than it already was to begin with.

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He even recalls a time where he experienced it himself on BBC Radio 4.

He said: “The ‘wee toon’ [Campbeltown] certainly has a Tory presence, but in nothing like the strength represented in the audience and in the questions called.”

And it’s not only independence supporters who have noticed. Russell points to journalist Alex Massie who wrote under a clear as day headline in The Spectator of “Yes, of course the BBC is biased against Scottish Nationalists”.

He argues that the BBC, as the “creator and guardian of much of modern Britain’s identity and culture” was bound to feel itself threatened by the possible outcome of an indyref and act accordingly.

According to Russell, it is with this sentiment that the BBC has been picking its audiences, to squash any hint of independence from its entire production.

He says even from within Scotland, the voice of independence in national media is shrinking in the light of Brexit and “building back better”.

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