Media in the Press

Post-graduate Journalism student, Alessandro Brunelli, casts his eyes over the media stories making the press today…

Complaints reported yesterday about SNP leader, Alex Salmond, appearing on the BBC debating programme, Question Time, are continued by The Herald (page 7) today, which reprises Scottish Labour accusations of bias by the BBC – in the run-up to the Scottish Parliament elections – since no other Scottish party leader took part in the show, from Liverpool and broadcast last night. 

A BBC spokesperson is quoted in defence of the BBC's decision: “Question Time achieves impartiality across the UK – especially in the run-up to a number of different elections and a referendum – by a careful selection of panellists representing different parties over a number of weeks.

“On this week's programme Labour is to be represented by Peter Hain, the Conservatives by Michael Howard, the Liberal Democrats by Chris Huhne and the SNP by Alex Salmond.

“There are clear and public BBC guidelines regarding the fair treatment of candidates in constituencies during election campaigns.”

The Scotsman (page 5) and the Scottish Daily Mail (page 2) also cover the story.

In the Mail (page 15), the BBC is also attacked by Andrew Green, chair of Migrationwatch, a think-thank which monitors migration flows to and from the UK.

According to Green, Radio 4's treatment of Prime Minister, David Cameron's speech on immigration, which he delivered yesterday in Hampshire, was “abysmal” in the way it sensationalised the issue, as illustrated, he says, by the BBC website which “ignored a sensible contribution” Lib Dem spokesperson, Tom Brake, for quotes from Business Secretary, Vince Cable, who accused the Prime Minister's speech of being “very unwise” and of risking to “inflame extremism”.

Elsewhere, The Scotsman (page 2) reports that James Weatherup is now the third journalist to be arrested in relation to the News of The World phone-hacking probe.

Weatherup, a senior reporter and previously news editor, is reported to have been arrested yesterday morning and bailed until September on suspicion of unlawfully intercepting mobile phone voicemail messages.

Chief reporter, Nevile Thurlbeck, and former assistant editor (news), Ian Edmondson (who was sacked at the start of the year in connection with the affair), have previously arrested, questioned and released on bail over the last few weeks.

Former Labour deputy prime minister, Lord Prescott, is quoted saying that the proposed takeover of BSkyB by News Corporation should be delayed until the inquiry is complete.

Former Labour Secretary, David Blunkett, is also quoted, saying: “I'd like a proper police inquiry. It isn't, incidentally, just News International. I think the experience I'm aware of from eight, six, five years ago is undoubtedly there's more that's going on than meets the eye.”

Weatherup's arrest is also reported in The Herald (page 2) and the Scottish Daily Mail (page 27).

Meanwhile, The Scotsman (page 3) reports that American animation studio, Pixar, is working on The Brave, described as a fairytale set in the Scottish Highlands, and which will include Billy Connolly, Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson among its cast.

It is understood that the film, set to be released in June next year, will see tourist agency, VisitScotland, collaborate with Pixar and Disney, which will be in charge of distributing it globally.

Film tourism project manager at VisitScotland, Jenni Steele, is quoted, enthusiastically pointing out that: “Scotland is still seeing the benefit of Braveheart and it was released more than 15 years ago and Brave could be just as big. The sky really is the limit.”

An article about The Brave also appears on The Herald (page 3).

Finally, ex-BBC Newsnight chief, Jonathan Steer, is suing the Corporation, which sacked him following the reported discovery of email advances he sent to a gay colleague. Steer is reportedly claiming that he was suffering from bipolar disorders and the Beeb had failed in its duty to take care of him (the Scottish Daily Mail, page 37).