Thanks for contacting the BBC with your comments about ‘Any Questions?’ broadcast on 20 August 2010.
We understand you felt the programme was offensive to Scottish people. We raised your concerns with the Editor, Alice Feinstein, who replied as follows:
"I’m sorry that you did not like what you heard during the section of the programme that dealt with the release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.
‘Any Questions?’ aims to provoke lively debate on the big news stories of the week and has always been a place where strong opinions are aired. In this particular edition it is true that there was some strong criticism of Scottish politics and Scottish nationalism but I did not see these comments as racist or anti Scottish:: to my mind the comments, though strongly expressed, were focussed on the political opinions and behaviour of some Scottish politicians, mainly in the context of the al-Megrahi case and also more generally on the subject of devolution itself. The chair, Eddie Mair, intervened at several points to challenge the panellists on the comments that were made.
Another element of ‘Any Questions?’ is the reaction of the audience in the hall, but I would like to point out that we only hear from those people who choose to voice their reactions. These responses should therefore not be taken to represent the audience as a whole who may hold a wide range of differing opinions.
‘Any Questions?’ achieves a balance of opinion by visiting a wide range of venues across the UK and inviting a mix of panellists to take part in the programme. We regularly visit Scotland and invite members of the SNP to appear on the panel. The comments made in this week's programme are balanced over the series: On 23 July 2010 the programme came from Lochinver and Fergus Ewing from the SNP gave a full defence of the Scottish Parliament and Kenny MacAskill's decision to "to grant the compassionate early release of a dying man." We also encourage a range of opinion by inviting listeners to call in to ‘Any Answers?’ and challenge the opinions that they hear on ‘Any Questions?’.
The views expressed by the panellists are not necessarily shared by the BBC. The panellists reveal themselves in the comments they choose to make and we leave it to listeners to make up their own minds about what they hear.
I do hope you will continue to listen to ‘Any Questions?’."
We'd also like to assure you that we’ve registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and considered across the BBC.
Thanks again for contacting the BBC.
BBC Audience Services