Robert Peston accuses the BBC of pulling on a news report on Scottish independence because bosses ‘feared the ire of Alex Salmond’
- Robert Peston claims report on economic impact of Scotland vote was ditched
- He said the Corporation’s most senior executives feared ‘ire of Alex Salmond’
- The broadcaster claimed Corbyn refused to be interviewed by him in election
- He said he watched BBC’s coverage of Brexit referendum ‘with disappointment’
Broadcaster Robert Peston has accused the BBC of pulling a news report on Scottish independence because bosses feared it might upset Alex Salmond, Scotland’s then First Minister.
Peston, the BBC’s Economics Editor in 2014 when Scotland held its referendum, claimed his report on the vote’s economic implications was ditched minutes before it was due to be broadcast.
Speaking at the 2020 Hugh Cudlipp journalism lecture, Peston said: ‘A couple of days before the referendum, and just ten minutes before going to air on the ten o’clock news, a piece I had made on the economic implications of Scottish independence was pulled, on the orders of the Corporation’s most senior executives, who feared the ire of Alex Salmond.’
Peston, the BBC’s Economics Editor in 2014 when Scotland held its referendum, claimed his report on the vote’s economic implications was ditched minutes before it was due to be broadcast. Alex Salmond is pictured above
Mr Peston, 59, said ‘those who run the BBC’ had a ‘sheer terror’ of ‘prompting a political backlash’.
Consequently, he said, the Corporation was now afraid to ‘stick its neck out and give a view’.
He added: ‘The least edifying aspect of the incident is that assorted bosses subsequently rang me to distance themselves from the decision, just in case it leaked and became a cause celebre.’
Broadcaster Robert Peston has accused the BBC of pulling a news report on Scottish independence because bosses feared it might upset Alex Salmond, Scotland’s then First Minister
Peston, now the Political Editor for ITV News and the host of his own weekly political show, said he had ‘watched with disappointment’ the BBC’s coverage of the Brexit referendum, which he said had ‘confused balance with due impartiality’.
The reporter, who spent nine years with the BBC before moving to ITV, also claimed that Jeremy Corbyn had refused to be interviewed by him during last year’s General Election campaign because of concerns about his reporting.
Peston said Seumas Milne, Mr Corbyn’s director of communications, had accused him of ‘slanted editorialising’ when it came to coverage of Labour and anti-Semitism.
A Labour spokesman said: ‘Concerns were raised about Peston’s unbalanced and slanted reporting across a range of topics, including Brexit and economic issues.’
A BBC spokesman added: ‘From our interview with Prince Andrew, to an investigation into China’s ‘re-education’ camps and a Panorama on the alleged cover up of war crimes by the British army – it is difficult to argue that the BBC lacks confidence in our journalism.
‘We are committed to impartiality and make considered editorial judgments every day.’
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