BBC Scotland- dodging the issues they raised


BBC SCOTLAND Celtic newsTo no real surprise the BBC have ducked away from answering the mountain of complaints that they received for the Scottish Cup Final coverage.

Once presenter Rob McLean had accused Celtic supporters of singing sectarian songs Pat Nevin was happy to join in the criticism and promised to raise the issue at any match he hears sectarian songs.

Since NO sectarian songs were sung by Celtic fans at the match thousands of fans contacted the BBC for clarity on the issue.

The two main points of complain were over which songs the BBC heard and claimed to be sectarian and who decided that the subject was worthy of interrupting Craig Levein’s half-time analysis to discuss.

Since the day of the Scottish Cup Final BBC Scotland haven’t said a single word about sectarian singing from the Celtic supporters and there is no evidence that they reported the incidents to Strathclyde Police.

The BBC had previously claimed not to get involved in this subject during their live matches and that was certainly true of the coverage of March’s Co-Operative Cup Final between Celtic and Rangers.

Today, after almost three weeks of waiting the BBC finally decided to respond to the complaints they received although it would be stretching the truth to claim that they answered the complaints.


“Thanks for contacting BBC Complaints. Please accept our apologies for the delay in replying; we know our viewers appreciate a quick response and we’re sorry that you’ve had to wait on this occasion.

We have received a number of comments concerning the half-time discussion at this year’s Scottish Cup Final, to which BBC Scotland has offered a response on the points raised, as below.

At the half time interval of our live television broadcast of this year’s Scottish Cup Final the presenter and one of the guests briefly mentioned that sectarian singing had been heard coming from a minority of Celtic fans.

Given the incidents of recent weeks, and taking into account the statement by Neil Lennon posted on the club’s official website just days before the Final, it was editorially appropriate to include this short discussion.

Sectarianism and associated behaviours have been the topic of much comment this season and five editions of Sportscene in April and May took time to debate the issue in relation to the general problem and to specific incidents such as the sending of parcel bombs and the fining of Rangers FC by UEFA.

There is a continuing debate around the definition of “sectarian” and we accept that it would have been more accurate for our presenter to refer to “songs that some people believe to be an expression of sectarianism but which many people nonetheless find both offensive and provocative”.

There is no doubt that the issue of sectarianism in Scotland has moved into a new phase since the events of April and May, with the First Minister asserting that tackling it in all its forms will be a priority for the new government.

BBC Scotland will continue to report on this and all other areas of public interest and debate in a fair and balanced manner over time. We can also assure you that your concerns have been registered on our audience log; this is a daily report of audience feedback that’s made available to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.”

That bland statement contains many inaccuracies and avoids the two main questions of what songs did the BBC find sectarian and whose decision was it that it was worth highlighting at half-time.

One obvious error was the claim thatthe presenter and one of the guests briefly mentioned that sectarian singing had been heard coming from a minority of Celtic fans’.

The word minority was not used.

While the BBC remain another level of unwelcome tax they really should ensure that their employees know what they are talking about and have the guts to apologise when they are clearly in the wrong.

If they wish to introduce flannel like ‘There is a continuing debate around the definition of “sectarian” and we accept that it would have been more accurate for our presenter to refer to “songs that some people believe to be an expression of sectarianism but which many people nonetheless find both offensive and provocative”,’ they should be brave enough to state what songs they found offensive.

If any commercial organisation had promoted lies about the Celtic support in the same way as the BBC have they would be feeling the chill of reduced audiences and reduced revenues.

The sooner that the BBC is answerable to the public through advertisers the better. They can then drop their laughable claim to be a public service and live within their means.

And if they wish to demonise a large proportion of their market place they’ll have to live with the consequences rather than producing laughable complaints procedures where they dodge the issues to promote agendas of their own.

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  • Steven1888 says:

    Poor, half hearted & gutless response from the BBC really as expected. And nice to see they’ve just send the same response to everyone.

    I don’t think I would bother so much if I didn’t have to pay a license fee but the fact that we are, legally obliged, to pay for such one sided reporting is annoying.

  • jim Baxter says:

    I also received the above generated reply and surprise surprise, no apology. I have complained about the reply and said it did not answer my original complaint.

    I also said I welcomed the new approach of balanced reporting as it has never happened before :-). I also stared that I welcome the organisations weekly report on sectarian singing by all clubs in bigoted Scotland every week on Sportscene- bet that never happens.

    Probably went a little too far or maybe not far enough when I accused them of pinning there colours to the wall.

    Hail Hail

  • Ciaran says:

    “There is a continuing debate around the definition of “sectarian””???????

    No there isn’t. Surely someone at that vast organisation has access to a fecking dictionary!

    I will not accept the above for an explanation and neither should any Celtic supporter. That was as close to a “so what, we’ll do what we want” as you’re ever gonna get from a govt body.

  • I also find their generated one size fits all reply totally inadequate and will be writing to them again and again until they either produce evidence of sectarian singing or apologise.

  • Joe says:

    Bias and bigotry in Scotland has been evident for years and isn’t about to change in our lifetimes. This said, the cycle is detrimental to us, again. We bring up the clear bias and bigotry which plagues us and has done for over a century now, and we are punished for exposing things. Scumbag cowards in Scotland are hidden by other scumbag cowards, namely the SFA, SPL, Media, Monarchy, Police and Referees.

    Only in Scotland would we have the governing body, SFA, ignore conviction from their governing body, UEFA, when they find one of their members, rangers, guilty of excessive and continued bigotry and religious bile.

    Why would we expect the BBC to be different? they are after all, a queens organization.

  • joe o'neil says:

    Joratim here from the Celtic Hub.

    Some readers may have noticed that our site has been attacked during last night by vandals, and is still non operational.

    However, Winner will no dought, sort it out eventually.

    To return to the article, together with others, I also received the nonsensical reply from BBC today.

    They have neither admitted nor conceded that their studio party were guilty of anything untoward.

    I for one will be replying to inform them of my disgust in respect of their reply.

    Time for all of us to organise a petition calling for them to retract and apologise for the disgraceful behavior of their staff on Cup Final day.

    Might have been different if Motherwell had went in at half time in the lead.

    Typical Shocking Scottish Media.

    Hail Hail

  • lenny4myth2 says:

    We need the clubs backing here.

    What the fu@k kind of a response is that? So because some uneducated bigots in Scotland are offended by Irish folk songs and wrongly label them sectarian in nature the BBC think it’s ok to distort the DEFINITION AND MEANING of a word!?

    Sorry, a pathetic and feeble excuse, it’s like trying to broaden the word “racist”, how dangerous would that be? Would that not be diluteing the seriousness of the word itself?

    They should have just apologised, this rightfully is not going away.

    And as for the s#it about it being topical! ITS BEEN TOPICAL ALL SEASON! AND LAST SEASON! AND FOR THE PAST HUNDRED YEARS!

    These cowards were targeting that specific game as it was the last game of the season and they could have a dig at Celtic without having to then do the same to rangers, cowards.

    The thickos couldn’t wait to have a go at the Celtic support and made idiots of themselves.

    And they didn’t say a minority of the support, they said THE celtic support.

  • lenny4myth2 says:

    By the way, the reply from the BBC saying it was a “minority” refered to in the programme is a LIE, they must have watched it back, there was NO reference to it being a minority, i dont appreciate being blatantly lied to and anyone replying to this joke of a response not happy being lied to should add that in their next complaint. DO NOT LET THIS GO BHOYS AND GHIRLS.

  • paranoidandroid says:

    i’d like to make three quick comments about this.

    First, a half-decent lawyer could rip that statement to shreds and expose it as the the lies and half-truths that it is.

    Second, MacLean made these unsubstantiated accusations in front of millions of people from all over the world. This apology to a few people isn’t good enough.

    And thirdly, Celtic as a club should get involved in this. The club and it’s fan’s reputations have been dragged through the mud- by an idiot.

  • timgreen says:

    The BBC’s behaviour on that day and over recent years on this subject has been awful. Unprofessional and biased. Their response here is weak and pathetic.

    But for you to suggest that a solution is to invite advertisers to make the BBC more accountable is staggering!! You play straight into the enemy’s hands. You must be sick of the shoddy enterprises you already support in your quest to watch your team – Sky, ESPN, etc. – where you pay your annual sub and then still have to suffer endless ads. And you want the BBC to go the same way? Behave yourself!

  • john west Belfast says:

    I was one of many who complained and I will be one of many letting the BBC know that we will not accept this and demand an apology, This just the beginning

    hail hail

  • Joe McHugh says:

    Reply to Tim Green

    If the BBC were commercial the weight of complaints directly to them and to their advertisers might prompt some action.

    If it didn’t some folk may switch off or deny them subscriptions for a while.

    With the BBC forcing us to pay them a licence fee the viewer/listener has very little option but to lump it.

    Sending out a standard email almost three weeks after the event as a ‘level 1’ reply is like the actions of a council with different tiers of the complaint system designed in the hope that most folk get fed up and let it fall by the wayside.

    A commercial organisation would have dealt with this issue sharper.

  • STEVIEC says:

    Tell them to stick there license fee up there

  • Imatim says:

    The comments by Mr McLean and Mr Nevin were not only blatantly offensive to the Celtic Family they were libellous and have denigrated Celtic in front of a world wide audience.

    There are now people throughout the world who after listening to the comments made by Mr McLean and Mr Nevin will now deem our club to be sectarian. There can be no disputing this.

    This could very likely see potential sponsors and supporters have serious reservations about having anything to do with Celtic either now or in the future as a consequence.

    The BBC have caused Celtic very serious and quite probably irreparable harm by their actions in both public perception and in future financial partnerships as a result.

    The sensitivity of sectarianism in the public and political domains will ensure this to be the case and the BBC are more aware of this than most.

    Hence, this was without doubt a premeditated and malicious act by the BBC to seriously hurt our Club and those responsible should pay the price for their nefarious actions.

    We must expect and demand accountability and transparency particularly from those who serve the public.

    This is only the beginning of the fight for justice and equality. Play your part.

    We will no longer accept this type of insidious behaviour and attack on the Celtic Family.

    Stand strong! Stand together!….and speak with one voice.

    Show these people we will not be sitting at the back of the bus.

    Do not let this go.

    NO MORE!

  • Ralph Togneri says:

    Typical BBC… I have complained before.

    Facts should be correct before they decide to slate us.

    I do believe though that we will have to watch in the coming season as I feel there may be repercussions if we continue with certain songs deemed unsuitable.


  • Mike Bhoyle says:

    Couldn’t have put it better myself…well said….
    I look now to Celtic FC taking an active role in this matter…to enable us to follow.
    The ” We are the People” days at BBC Scotland need to be brought to an end….now.

  • jocky bhoy says:

    BTW the comments said were slanderous – would have been libellous if they were written.

    Keep the pressure up Bhoys – they have broken their own rules in terms of balance and commeting on the singing at games (will they now comment on all offensive songs going forward? The racist “Adebayor” song, the anti-semitic songs sung by teams playing Tottenham, Hillsborough and Munich songs?) and are now obfuscating and telling half truths to cover their backsides.

    Much as the referees did last season.

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