BBC Scotland has issued a correction and apology for its Hate Crime Act coverage. 

The law was the subject of much controversy, with opponents claiming it could have a chilling effect on free speech.

Politicians meanwhile, including First Minister Humza Yousaf and Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater, took aim at the media coverage and attacked what they called "disinformation" surrounding the legislation which was introduced with the aim of strengthening people’s protection from hate crimes.

Now, the BBC has apologised for falsely claiming "in some of our output" that the act made it a criminal offence in Scotland to make “derogatory comments” based on the legislation's protected characteristics.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf urges critics to stop spreading hate crime 'misinformation'

The broadcaster said in their correction: "This was inaccurate and we should have referred to the act creating a new crime where it is an offence if someone communicates material or behaves in a threatening or abusive manner with the intention of 'stirring up hatred' based on these protected characteristics.

They added: "We apologise for any confusion caused and have reminded our teams of the importance of accuracy in our output."

A large amount of the controversy surrounding the new law focused on the expanded grounds for prosecution on the grounds of “stirring up hatred” against a group.

Since 1986, it has been illegal in the UK to stir up racial hatred and homophobic hate crimes have been on the statute books since 2008 in England and Wales.

The new law creates new offences for stirring up hatred against people because of their disability, religion, transgender identity, sexuality, age or variation in sex characteristics.

The law has not made someone’s sex an aggravating factor in hate crimes. The Scottish Government said that while “we know that women’s experiences of hate crime can be amplified by misogyny” this law would have been the wrong vehicle for a new criminal offence.

A separate bill on that topic is expected to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament later this year.