Media defence

Departing BBC Scotland boss urges end to political criticism

Donalda Mackinnon: political football

BBC Scotland’s departing top executive has defended the organisation against “frequently unfair” and “politically-motivated” attacks on its journalism.

Donalda Mackinnon, who steps down from her £180,000 job later this year, gave a parting shot to opponents of its news coverage.

“As a publicly-funded broadcaster, the BBC is, of course, well-used to being in the public eye about our news coverage, frequently used as a political football when journalism that doesn’t accord with a particular viewpoint upsets someone or other,” she writes in the trade magazine Broadcast.

“I know that criticism focusing almost entirely on our news output is frequently unfair on our journalism teams, who try to the very best of their ability to ask questions of those in power that the public don’t get the chance to ask, and ask questions that those in power would sometimes rather we didn’t ask.

“Often, for whatever reason, those who criticise do not seem to realise, or choose to ignore, the fact that journalism exists is to cast light on matters of public interest and to challenge those in authority, no matter their political colour.

“But while that criticism is, most often, unfair on our news teams, it’s also deeply unfair on the majority of other staff.”

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Ms MacKinnon, who has enjoyed a 33-year career at the BBC, was due to depart this summer but will now remain at Pacific Quay until the end of this year.

Defending its record and calling for a change to the tone of attacks it receives, she said: ” It’s probably wishful thinking to hope that much of the politically motivated criticism around our news won’t come back as we return to whatever counts for normality, but it would also be nice to retain just a little recognition of our output in its entirety.”

Acknowledging the efforts of key workers, she added her thanks to the “frequently unsung media workers, without whom we would all be struggling to know what’s been going on”.

She highlighted local papers, national press and broadcasters, but consistent with BBC Scotland’s frequent reluctance to recognise and support new media she made no mention of online news services.

7 Comments to Departing BBC Scotland boss urges end to political criticism

  1. BBC in Scotland has been dumbed down so far it can scarcely breathe. It seems to be all about Glasgow and other areas of our nation don’t matter. The journalism has gone apart from a small handful of real reporters. The chat programmes are a disgrace and it would actually be more cost effective to shut down the transmitter from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. and avoid the embarrassment of rubbish like Kaye Adams and Jock Beattie

  2. Under her watch ‘ trust’ in the BBC in Scotland fell and then fell further. That happened for a reason and continues to happen to this day due in part to editorial and producer led decision making in their news rooms.

  3. If BBC Scotland would listen to what the majority people in Scotland are saying instead of telling us what unionists want us to know they might get some credit

  4. Total bullshit! BBC why don’t you rebrand it EBC as it’s not British it’s the English Broadcasting Company run by the Westmonster government!!!!!

  5. BBCScotland are an utter disgrace, your loyalty is to the UK and the ruling class, you have some nerve saying criticism is not merited; you never hold the Tories in England or Scotland to account; naire ort nighean an dorchadas.

  6. When she became the head at PQ she promised to increase trust in BBC in Scotlandshire. Instead it has continued to nosedive. She is a failure. BBC in Scotland ‘news’ lies by ommisson almost constantly. The British part of their name is clearly THE most important part of them and reflecting and respecting half of the population of Sccotland is not on their radar even remotely.

    I no longer have a TV or pay my license because I object in extremis to being taxed in order to be lied to. A pox on the BBC IN Scotland and all who sail in her. Saor Alba.

  7. Bullshit and you know it wouldn’t worry soon enough you will be no more in an independent Scotland thank the lord 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

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