Scottish independence: Greens accuse BBC of bias

Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie MSP. Picture: Robert Perry
Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie MSP. Picture: Robert Perry
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THE BBC have been accused of a “lack of balance” by Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie MSP over the broadcaster’s line-up of Question Time panellists, who are due to discuss Scottish independence in Edinburgh tonight.

• Scottish Greens accuse BBC of breach of impartiality over Question Time line-up

• Programme will be broadcast in Edinburgh tonight with audience of 16- and 17-year-olds

Panellists for the show, which will include an audience of 16- and 17-year-olds, include Ukip leader Nigel Farage and Respect MP George Galloway, both of whom oppose independence.

The Scottish Greens issued a statement saying that the debate would be skewed because of the guests selected to appear on Question Time - alongside Mr Farage and Mr Galloway will be an SNP representative, a journalist, and two pro-Union politicians.

Mr Harvie also complained that the Greens have only appeared on the show once since the formation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

In the statement, Mr Harvie said: “Tonight’s Question Time line up is particularly bizarre, and following a telephone discussion with the editor it is clear to me that this programme has been contrived to deliver sensationalist confrontation, rather than serious debate.

“The lack of balance is staggering and I know from comments we’ve received it’s not just Green supporters who are alarmed.

“This situation is particularly unacceptable a week before the Scottish Parliamentary by-election in Aberdeen Donside, which should require particular attention to political balance.

“The BBC has shown serious misjudgement in allowing tonight’s programme to go ahead and we look forward to meeting senior managers to discuss how they intend to rectify a situation that will have harmed the broadcaster’s reputation for fairness.”

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “Tonight’s programme aims to provide its unique audience of 16 and 17-year-olds with as broad a range of political opinion as possible, while offering a UK-wide audience at home a varied and interesting political and current affairs debate.

“Nigel Farage represents a party with growing UK support and their recent electoral gains since the 2010 general election makes them of interest to our audience.

“The Question Time panel is chosen carefully across the series and the Green Party has appeared on the programme twice in the last four months.

“The Scottish Greens will be invited to appear on the programme in a future edition recorded in Scotland.”

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