Club 1872 would like to bring members and supporters up to date with our correspondence with BBC Scotland regarding their coverage of Rangers Football Club. Supporters will be aware that BBC Scotland still refuses to cover Rangers in the same manner as other Scottish clubs due to a long running dispute over the biased reporting of Chris McLaughlin. That dispute continues and it is our opinion that a culture is now well established within BBC Scotland that Rangers are fair game for false and malicious reporting. BBC Scotland remains the only major media platform in Scotland not to report at all on Rangers’ new diversity and inclusion campaign, Everyone Anyone.
Before this season has even begun in earnest we have seen two examples of inaccurate reporting about Rangers which have had to be corrected by BBC Scotland. The BBC Scotland position is that these are honest mistakes – incompetent rather than malicious – despite the frequency with which they occur.
Club 1872 has submitted twelve separate complaints to BBC Scotland over the past few months. All of these have been escalated through three stages of their internal complaints process and a number have now been passed to OfCom where they currently sit. Complaints regarding the frequent, biased, false reporting of BBC Scotland employees on social media cannot unfortunately be referred to OfCom and have been whitewashed by BBC Scotland.
It has become clear during this process that BBC Scotland routinely denies the basis for any complaints regarding their coverage of Rangers and it appears that their complaints process is designed to be as difficult as possible for members of the public to navigate. Different reference numbers are regularly assigned to the same complaint to make it difficult to track and generic responses are routinely used for complaints which have no relation to each other.
One of the central issues with BBC Scotland reporting is their stated duty of impartiality which has gone missing where Rangers are concerned. It is here that we have seen the most disturbing comments from BBC Scotland in response to our complaints.
Below are direct quotes from their correspondence:
“There is no requirement for a BBC reporter or presenter to post about a particular event or development, or to treat similar stories in the same way.”
“There is no requirement in the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines which states a presenter…has to give equivalent coverage or treatment to similar or related stories.”
“The decision of what news stories and events to report is a matter of legitimate editorial discretion for editors and programme-makers. They are entitled to use their judgement to decide which stories to cover and the manner in which they are covered. There is no requirement which states a particular event or development has to be reported by a broadcaster, or that similar or related issues or events have to be given equivalent coverage or treatment.”
We believe it is important that supporters are given this information because it is now clear that BBC Scotland does not consider it has a duty to be impartial but that it can report in any way it sees fit. It is also clear that the tone and content of reporting is totally reliant upon a group of editors, presenters and journalists who can scarcely disguise their dislike of our club and support.
BBC headquarters are aware of the ongoing dispute with BBC Scotland but to date, their intervention has not improved matters. BBC Scotland are strongly resisting any attempts to address their biased coverage of our club.
Senior production staff at BBC Scotland, including their Head of Corporate Affairs, Ian Small, have been presented with evidence that BBC Scotland are regularly using a contributor who has used social media platforms to publish sectarian comments and hate speech towards Rangers supporters. BBC Scotland regularly presents this contributor as a neutral commentator on a number of news and current affairs programmes, despite senior staff being aware of the history mentioned above. This is just one indicator of the scale of the cultural issues within Pacific Quay.
We will continue to submit complaints regarding biased and dishonest coverage of our club and support, and we would encourage individual supporters to do the same despite the difficulties involved. At some point, BBC Scotland will have to address these systemic issues and start to address their refusal to provide licence payers in Scotland with the service to which they are entitled.
Issued by Supporters Voice Limited, a Club 1872 company< Back