Friday, September 15, 2023

BBC Scotland removes cartoons of politicians from social media

From BBC News.

Caricature of Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater

The assault on ‘nasty’ cartoonists and the censorship of their work continues unabated. The latest bowing to political pressure and culling of satirical commentary comes from BBC Scotland.
BBC Scotland has removed satirical cartoons of politicians from social media following criticism online.

A clip depicting Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater from Radio Scotland's Noising Up was described as "unnecessarily nasty" by an MSP.

Animations of First Minister Humza Yousaf, Tory leader Douglas Ross and Labour leader Anas Sarwar were also deleted.

BBC Scotland said it was reviewing Noising Up's social media output.

A spokesperson defended the role of political satire, but said the posts had not worked as intended.

While the social media clips have been pulled, the topical radio sketch show will continue to be broadcast on Radio Scotland and is still available on BBC Sounds.

Caricatures of Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and First Minister Humza Yousaf

In one clip satirising Ms Slater, who grew up in Canada, she was labelled the "minister for green skills, circular economy, biodiversity, short haul flights and maple syrup".

The animation about "Limo Lorna" also referenced press reports about her use of ministerial cars.

The character promoted a series called "Lorna Slater's Great Green limousine journeys", described as a "3,000-mile tax-payer funded journey around Scotland".

Equalities Minister Emma Roddick described it as "unnecessarily nasty", while SNP colleague and Culture Minister Christina McKelvie called it "dreadful".

Green MSP Mark Ruskell responded: "What's funny about needing a car to do your job?"

Sketches on other political leaders have also been criticised online.

Caricatures of Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and UK Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner

BBC Scotland confirmed it had removed the animations from social media.

A spokesperson said: "We believe satire has a role to play within public discourse and it is important that it has its place within Scotland's political and cultural landscape.

"Animations of four of Scotland's party leaders were created to support the programme with the intent of helping it reach a new and wider audience.

"It became clear over the weekend that the animations were not working as intended and having reflected on the reaction we have made the decision to remove them from social media while we review their use and assess the programme's social media presence."

Noising Up, which returned this month for a second series, first aired on Radio Scotland in September 2022.

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