Reply to complaint from BBC. Original complain below. Beyond dispute eh?
Dear Dr Robertson
Thanks for contacting the BBC.
Your comments were passed to the Editor of Reporting Scotland, who has asked that I forward his response as follows:
“Thank you for being in touch about the teatime edition on 10th February.
It is beyond dispute that the accusation of being complicit in the cover-up of abuse has been made against the Scottish Government and that the relevant minister in the government is the Education Secretary. It is also beyond dispute that people interviewed in the package were unhappy with the course of action being followed by the government.
Angela Constance, in her comprehensive contribution, made these points – that she and her colleagues were “absolutely determined” to shine a light on past injustice; and that many survivors were saying to her that they want an inquiry that covers all the important issues but which will also report back in “a reasonable timescale with practical suggestions that will address past injustice”. The reporter made clear in his report that the government were claiming that it was the widest investigation ever.
Just as one accepts the word of the minister that people have told her certain things, the word of the reporter that people were saying things which were in at least one instance in the public domain should be taken into account. In saying (as you correctly quote) “Are they complicit? I could not offer an opinion either way”, the interviewee who said that followed up with these remarks “I know that what is happening is unlawful and discriminatory and its effect on us guys is devastating.” Taking that all in context his ‘complicit’ remarks should not necessarily be interpreted as other than a way of saying “I can’t tell you ‘X’ but what I can tell you is …”
I should add that in the more than a week since the broadcast, neither the minister nor any of her staff has been on to us to complain.
Thank you again for taking the trouble to be in touch with us.”
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11th February 2016
To: Ofcom , BBC Trust, Police Scotland etc
From: Dr John Robertson
I write to complain of an accusatory but demonstrably inaccurate and dishonest headline statement and report introduced by presenter Ms Jackie Bird on BBC Scotland’s Reporting Scotland at 6.30pm on Wednesday 10th February 2016. This accusation, un-supported by evidence, can be seen as deeply offensive and hurtful to the Scottish Education Secretary, Angela Constance and potentially damaging to the electoral prospects of the SNP Government.
Bird said as a headline:
‘People who have suffered child abuse accuse the Education Secretary of becoming complicit in the cover up of offences by failing to widen a government inquiry
‘People who suffered child abuse have accused the Scottish Government of becoming complicit in the cover-up of offences.’
No individual or organisational representative was to repeat these words for us at any point in the reporting. Only one interviewed representative of a group was heard to say anything and, significantly, only this:
‘Are they complicit? I couldn’t offer an opinion either way.’
As a citizen, tax-payer and licence-fee payer, I find this disgraceful and to me, illegal. Consequently, I have written to you, the BBC Trust, Police Scotland, my local MP and MSP. Please deal with this as soon as possible in order that the above can have only limited effect on the upcoming Scottish elections in May 2016.
Dr John Robertson