CONTROVERSIAL media coverage of the referendum is to be put under the spotlight at next week’s Celtic Media Festival in Inverness. Leading media executives will look at how claims of bias sparked the emergence of new media platforms such as Wings Over Scotland, Newsnet Scotland and Bella Caledonia.

The event will also reveal what went on prior to Edward Snowden’s expose of the workings of the National Security Agency (NSA).This year the festival is celebrating a record-breaking number of entries for the awards for excellence in TV, film, radio and digital media from Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales.

Founded by SNP MSP Mike Russell in 1980, this is the seventh time the event has been held in Scotland. Next week’s scrutiny of the referendum coverage will be chaired by BBC Scotland’s executive producer for commissioning David Harron and feature Stuart Cosgrove, former head of creative diversity at Channel 4, Maurice Smith, owner of TVI Productions, Irish Times media correspondent Laura Slattery, and Martyn McLaughlin, senior reporter at The Scotsman.

The festival also brings together key players from The Guardian who were responsible for breaking one of the biggest stories of the decade – Snowden’s revelation of evidence of illegal covert surveillance by the NSA in collaboration with other intelligence agencies worldwide.The story led to The Guardian and Washington Post receiving the highest accolade in US journalism: the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Stuart Millar, The Guardian’s head of news, and Ewen MacAskill, the newspaper’s defence and intelligence correspondent, were key members of the small team responsible for the media outlet’s coverage of Snowden’s NSA revelations.

The two Scots, along with Luke Moody of Britdoc, distributor of Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’s film documenting Snowden’s revelations, will provide unprecedented, behind-the-scenes information on the making of the award-winning documentary. In another session, the festival will debate whether the popular programmes responsible for promoting Celtic languages run the risk of alienating loyal viewers and debase the Celtic languages.A series of screenings will showcase some of the feature-length drama nominees shortlisted in this year’s Celtic Media Festival Torc Awards for Excellence, including highly acclaimed Irish film Patrick’s Day, a provocative love story about the right to intimacy for everyone.

In contrast this will be followed by Robot Overlords, the hotly anticipated homegrown sci-fi drama that invades UK cinemas this month and was filmed on the Isle of Man.Entries for the Torc Awards have increased by 30 per cent from last year with 118 nominees from 78 production companies for 20 award categories, including animation, entertainment, sport, factual and feature-length drama.Scotland has produced a wealth of entries including The Bridge: Fifty Years Across the Forth.The documentary traces the memories of the people who built the iconic Forth Road Bridge, the biggest of its kind in Europe at the time, and includes the first televised use of an amateur film shot across the entire six years of the build by a local man.

Thanks to hosting events like the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, Scotland was on the global stage in 2014 and the legacy of these events has produced sporting documentary Sir Chris Hoy: How To Win Gold, which is in the running for the sport award.

BBC Radio Scotland’s Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Connections is nominated for the radio music programme award. The Scots Who Took Golf to America, about pioneering Scot John Reid and the lives of the Scots who followed in his wake, gains BBC Scotland another nomination, this time for the best radio sports programme.The festival, held in Inverness, runs from April 22-24.