PROBABLY like many in Scotland I would like to wish Donalda MacKinnon bon voyage as she looks to hand over the reins of BBC Scotland, while expressing my disappointment at her lack of success in significantly reforming BBC programming in Scotland. Of course, in her defence, MacKinnon could point to the creation of a new BBC Scotland channel, which although underfunded from the start had the potential to move Scottish television beyond that of colonial/provincial broadcaster. But what happened to the aim of making “compelling and enthralling programmes that entertain and inform all of our audiences” and of rectifying the “deficits” in BBC Scotland’s news coverage?

Instead of introducing a Scottish News at Six with both rigorous national and international perspectives, The Nine was created but serves up yet more UK Government propaganda while often more genuinely interesting local news stories and events are not covered.

On the other hand, it seems resources and time can always be found for an “exclusive” on a failure in the Scottish NHS that can be “attributed” to the Scottish Government. MacKinnon now complains about “politically motivated” attacks on its journalism, but instead of changing the balance of BBC reporting in Scotland and across all BBC channels transmitted in Scotland to reflect the fact that around 50% of the population support self-determination, the parties seeking independence probably still receive less than 10% of the total coverage time of parties that wish to sustain the Union. This is in spite of the SNP being the party of government in Scotland and being by far the largest Scottish party (many would claim the only Scottish party) representing Scotland at Westminster.

To make matters worse, from Andrew Neil to Gordon Brewer, Kirsty Wark to Andrew Marr, Fiona Bruce to Sarah Smith, SNP politicians are subjected to a level of forensic examination and hostile interrogation rarely replicated in questioning UK Government ministers, who are generally allowed to avoid answering difficult questions by simply repetitively regurgitating mindless political soundbites.

Perhaps MacKinnon should take the time to reflect on her quest for “balance” by ascertaining if her staff at Reporting Scotland and involved in BBC news programmes, presented or relayed to the Scottish public, now reflect the current constitutional ambitions of the people of Scotland? If in doubt, a simple test would be to ask each of her staff if they read newspapers, or news-feeds, representing both sides of the constitutional debate and, if not, is there an equal number reading both sides of that debate (MacKinnon’s successor please take note).

Stan Grodynski

Longniddry, East Lothian

I SEE soon-to-be-former boss of BBC Scotland, Donalda MacKinnon, has hailed the efforts of the “unsung media workers” during the current coronavirus crisis. Who does she mean by this? Is it the supine “journalists” who don’t dare to ask even a tricky question (or demand an answer) from the various Tory ministers at their daily briefings when everybody watching knows they’re lying about the number of deaths by coronavirus?

Would it be the BBC Scotland news team who decided to ditch the very brief Scottish news segments on breakfast TV shows, resulting in even more non-Scottish news being foisted on the Scottish public, or would it be the team who produced the report claiming that there would have been fewer deaths in Scotland if only the Scottish Government had brought in the lockdown two weeks earlier – except they forgot to mention the Scottish Government didn’t have the powers to introduce the lockdown?

Like most of the BBC, BBC Scotland is simply a propaganda outlet for the UK Government. It’s no wonder that so many people in Scotland are refusing to pay a TV licence. Here’s hoping more people will see through the lies of the BBC and join the rest of us who have decided we’re not paying to be lied to.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren