Your Noon Briefing: Media bias claims examined by Holyrood committee, Media House International, etc

AN academic who has published research alleging a 3:2 bias among BBC and STV news reports against Scots independence has claimed there has been “silence and collusion of almost all of Scotland’s mainstream media” towards his findings.

John Robertson, from the University of the West of Scotland, has come up with conclusions disputed by both the BBC and STV.

Both Robertson and BBC Scotland chief, Ken MacQuarrie, were giving evidence to MSPs yesterday – as reported here on STV and here on the BBC website.

The Scotsman quotes Robertson, as saying: “I would like to condemn the behaviour of BBC Scotland’s department of policy and corporate affairs in suppressing the dissemination of my research, and in circulating an insulting and ill-informed critique of my research directly to my principal.

“I’ve been personally hurt by the combination of threat from a powerful institution, although there has been no horse’s head in my bed yet, abandonment by the mainstream media and by academia other than my own immediate colleagues.

“I interpret the above as an attempt at thought-control.”

The paper leads its coverage today of what is now quite a long-running dispute between Robertson and the BBC by quoting the former saying the latter portrayed First Minister, Alex Salmond, as a ‘figure of fun’.

MacQuarrie is quoted in The Herald, as saying: “We completely reject the allegations about our news coverage, as we do the questioning of our journalists’ professionalism and what they have brought to air.

“The evidence it presents does not support the contentions that it makes and the conclusions are based largely on flawed analysis or occasionally intuitive guesswork.”

Watch the appearance of MacQuarrie plus colleagues, John Boothman and John Mullin, here.

Read more, here and here – on

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THE PR agency, Media House International, has parted company with Rangers Football Club, ‘by mutual consent’, says a statement on the club’s website. And The Herald picks up on the story today, on its front page and page three – here.

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THE lawyer acting for journalist-turned-politician, Joan McAlpine, has reportedly insisted his client will be found to have breached no Holyrood expenses regulations, over the hiring of a photographer.

The statement appears in the latest instalment of coverage by the Scottish Daily Mail which today again puts the former Sunday Times Scotland editor on its front page.

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AN Edinburgh-based arts blog has been named among the nominations in an UK-wide blogs competition.

Says a media release announcing the shortlist for the National UK Blog Awards: “Over 16,000 people – including Olympian, Rebecca Adlington, and TV personality, Katy Hill – voted online for their favourite events bloggers. The events shortlisted blogs will now be assessed by three industry experts, with impetus supplied by Scott Birch, the managing editor from Exhibition News, Julius Solaris, the founder and editor of the Event Manager Blog and Paul Cook, the creator and editor from Planet Planit.”

Steven Blyth’s Urban Kultur Blog was given a nod in the Arts & Culture – Individual Blogs category.

Adds the media release: “A blog based in Edinburgh, focusing on underground culture both at home and around my favourite European cities, with regular posts about street art, music and photography, as well as interviews with artists and DJs/producers. Urban Kultur also curates a regular podcast series where DJs and producers submit mixes representing all corners of underground dance music.”

The winners are named on the 25th of next month.

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THE comedy series, Mrs Brown’s Boys – part-produced by BBC Scotland – has been nominated in an UK-wide TV awards competition.

The show has been named on the shortlist of the Bulldog Awards – run by the trade magazine, Televisual – in the comedy category.

It is up against Bad Education (BBC Three), It’s Kevin (BBC Two), Toast of London (Channel 4), Fresh Meat (Channel 4) and Yonderland (Sky 1).

The winners are chosen by an online vote and announced in May.

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THE recently-appointed chief digital and product officer at Johnston Press – publisher of The Scotsman and several other Scots newspapers –  is among the speakers at a conference in Edinburgh next month, exploring the future of digital media.

Jeff Moriarty will be joined by, among others, Weber Shandwick’s digital strategist, Craig McGill, and BBC Scotland’s business and economy editor, Douglas Fraser.

For more details about conference – organised by The Scotsman – click this media release posted on

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