BBC wipes Labour peer's Putin-NATO invite from news bulletins
by a Newsnet reporter (1 May 2014)
BBC Scotland is tonight facing accusations of selective reporting after comments from First Minister Alex Salmond were removed from news bulletins. The issue centres on TV and Radio reports from the broadcaster which covered exchanges at today's First Minister's Questions from Holyrood.
In today's session, leaders of all three opposition parties attacked Mr Salmond over an interview he gave to GQ magazine in which the First Minister said there were "certain aspects" of Russian President Vladimir Putin's leadership he admired. The interview, in which Mr Salmond also made clear his opposition to Mr Putin in many key areas, was made prior to the Russian annexation of Crimea.
However pro-Union politicians have seized on the interview and have launched a sustained attack on the SNP leader. In the Holyrood chamber the attack continued with Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont accusing the First Minister of having damaged Scotland's reputation. She said: "Will the first minister now withdraw his ill-judged comments and apologise to the people of Scotland and the people of Ukraine?"
The First Minister responded to the Scottish Labour leader's accusations by pointing out that one of her own colleagues, Labour peer George Robertson, had recently called for Mr Putin to be invited to join NATO. Robertson's comments, given in an interview after the Russian President had annexed Crimea, were criticised by the UK's biggest Ukranian organisation.
The First Minister read out a statement from the president of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Zenko Lastowiecki, who said of Lord Robertson's invite to Putin: "We can't comment on his reasoning but is extremely bizarre whilst insulting to the Ukrainian nation who are on the edge of a precipice driven by Russia."
However, despite showing the leaders of all three pro-Union parties attacking Mr Salmond over the issue of his interview, BBC Scotland edited out the First Minister's response which highlighted the remarks of the Labour peer.
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'Putin the Boot in' – The return of the anti-Salmond smear campaign
by G.A.Ponsonby (01 MAY 2014)