Broadcasting watchdog to probe Alex Salmond's RT show

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has launched an investigation into Alex Salmond's RT show over claims it breached "accuracy" rules.
The Alex Salmond show is being probed by OfcomThe Alex Salmond show is being probed by Ofcom
The Alex Salmond show is being probed by Ofcom

The probe centres on the former First Minister's debut show which was broadcast on November 16.

It was overshadowed by a row over the origin of a series of tweets which were read out by Mr Salmond at the start of the broadcast.

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One message on The Alex Salmond Show appeared to be from account that did not exist and another from a user that had never tweeted.

A spokeswoman for the regulator today confirmed that a formal investigation has now been launched into the show.

“We are investigating whether this programme breached our rules on due accuracy,” she said.

Mr Salmond's decision to present a show on RT, formerly known as Russia Today, has been hugely controversial. Critics have claimed he is lending credibility to a channel which is effectively a Kremlin-backed propaganda machine. Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of interfering in elections and fake news.

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said she would have “advised against RT and suggested he seek a different channel”.

Mr Salmond's producers insisted at the time of the row that the tweets related to "real questions from real people."

RT has been forced to register as a foreign agent in the US.

Political opponents have now called on the former First Minister to ditch the show which is produced by former SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh.

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A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Not only is Alex Salmond struggling to find guests for his new show, he’s struggling to find people who will engage with it.

“It was obvious that the tweets that were read out were manufactured, and it’s no surprise that Ofcom are investigating it.

“The problems are already mounting for the former First Minister, and it’s about time he gave up on this disastrous venture.”

A Labour source said: "If Ofcom need any evidence of past behaviour regrading Alex Salmond and inaccuracy, they could refer to the 2014 White Paper or his promise to scrap council tax back in 2007."

A spokesperson for Slàinte Media, which produces the show, said: “This is an investigation by Ofcom into a single complaint in relation to tweets and messages used on the first edition of The Alex Salmond Show.

“As we said when the complaint was first made public on 17th November, we will be happy to co-operate with the Ofcom investigation and are confident of a satisfactory outcome.

“It is worth noting that the same Ofcom bulletin, which includes this investigation also lists nine other investigations into other broadcasting organisations in a two-week period, including into BBC and ITV programmes. In addition, there are 18 other specific complaints to Ofcom listed concerning the BBC which have yet to complete the BBC’s internal complaints process.”