BBC Staff Reportedly to be Advised on Referendum References

BBC staff covering the independence referendum are reportedly to be advised by bosses over language that might be construed to be biased.

According to the Scottish Daily Express (page 18), The Scottish Sun (page 10) and the Scottlsh Daily Mail (page 14), the move follows complaints from Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, and concern the use of words such as 'divorce' or 'break-up' amid fears it may influence voters when the referendum on Scotland's constitutional future takes place in two years' time.

However, it is understood that phrases favoured by the pro-independence Yes campaign, such as 'normal European state', are also to be discouraged.

A group of BBC staff, chaired by Ken MacQuarrie, director of BBC Scotland, is understood to have been set up to discuss reporting on the referendum, following a meeting between Salmond and Lord Patten, the chair of the BBC's governing body, the BBC Trust.

Meanwhile, both the Express and The Sun report Labour politicians complaining of BBC journalists referring to the 'Westminster government'.

A BBC spokesperson in quoted as saying: “We have instigated training and all staff are kept fully up to speed with the political developments in Scotland, so they can be reported with as much knowledge and impartiality as possible.”