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By Jason Michael

Holding the BBC in Scotland to account is an essential component in the success of the Scottish independence movement. The more people we can wake up to the tricks of the unionist media the more Yes votes we will have at ScotRef.

The Christmas and New Year break was most welcome this year. Daily blogging, while not quite the same as working with a spade for a living, takes its toll, and I was delighted to be able to leave off the writing to cook a turkey or two, bake shortbread, and brew some ginger wine. Seeing as my notifications weren’t exactly brimming with complaints of my absence, I’m going to assume folk didn’t miss me too much – which is a good thing.

But here we are, it’s already eight days into 2018 and already the awareness of how important the coming twelve months are for the future of Scotland is weighing down on me. We have work to do, and the best time to get started is now. At this point in our journey as a movement and as a nation I am all but certain that Scotland will soon become an independent country – at last taking its place in the global community of free nations, but I am sure that if we want to see this happen before the actualisation of Brexit complicates things further then this year is crucial.

Through the latter half of last year the incredible independentistas at IndyRef2.scot; GA Ponsonby, Peter Bell, Alan Knight, David Hooks, and others, began a project focused on countering the misrepresentation of Scotland on the BBC’s Reporting Scotland programme. The purpose of this analysis of the nightly news broadcast was to break down the propaganda, the manipulative language, and skewed coverage in order to help ordinary Scots viewers understand more clearly how the BBC was harming Scotland by twisting the narrative of the national debate.

Funding for such an ambitious project was always going to be a problem, and – as so often happens when independent and alternative media take on the juggernauts of the establishment media – it ran out of funds. This is frustrating of course, especially considering the amount of money now known to have been pouring into Scotland in Union from wealthy English donors. But unlike the SiU astroturfers the independence movement is a genuine grassroots movement of ordinary working people. Running out of money is something for which we have to be prepared.

Back in December, however, after the aforementioned project had ended, the people behind the Inform Scotland website reached out to me and asked if I would consider collaborating with them as a writer to continue what IndyRef2 had started. I was invited to a meeting over the holidays, which I duly attended, and at which I was provisionally offered the job of leading their efforts (pending the decision of their board). “Yes,” I said. It was not a difficult decision.

The plan is to take up what IndyRef2 started – with its support and freedom to use the work produced, write detailed analysis and comment on the daily spin of Reporting Scotland, and produce quality videos to help people all over Scotland and beyond to more effectively respond to the mis-reporting of Scotland by the BBC. Will we be any more able to keep this funded than IndyRef2? We’ll just have to wait and see, but fortune favours the brave. Besides, holding a light up to the BBC – holding it to account – is something we, as a movement, cannot afford not to do.

It is hoped that by demonstrating the pro-union partisanship of the state broadcaster we will inspire and assist more people over the country to make formal complaints first to the BBC itself and then to Ofcom. Its political partiality, if successfully proven, is in breach of the BBC’s own charter. This project, then, aims to educate viewers, give more people the tools to begin analysing it for themselves, and to ramp up the number of complaints it receives in answer to its biased reporting.

With some luck, a lot of hard work, and support from readers, there is every chance this will grow to become an invaluable asset for the independence movement. It has all the potential to become a hub for activists to share information and ideas, to reach viewers who may have not yet thought through the content on the BBC critically, and to become an instrument with which to tear away at the hold the state broadcaster has over the minds of so many in Scotland.

Why would I not leap at the opportunity to be a part of this adventure? I’d be mad not to. Over the coming days Inform Scotland will set out this idea before its board and membership. Soon thereafter we hope to get stuck into the work. In the meantime I would encourage my own readers to get on social media and follow Inform Scotland on Facebook and Twitter; for this to be a success it sorely needs a larger and growing audience to share its posts and articles. We don’t have the resources of the BBC and the mainstream media – so we really do need your help.

My own commitments to the Butterfly Rebellion and this blog will be unaffected. It may mean you will be hearing much more about the BBC on these pages, but I will do my best to keep things salted and peppered with variety and my own particular Jeggit-isms. I am excited about this and I am really hoping each and every one of you will come on this journey with us. So please stay calm and stay tuned – there’s more to come. Happy New Year!

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