Islay Estates dismay over misinformation in BBC coverage of land reform

Islay Estates yesterday issued the following statement in response to BBC media coverage of the introduction of the Land Reform Bill to the Scottish Parliament.

Alastair Margadale, chairman of Islay Estates Company, said: ‘When the BBC said they were coming to Islay to report on the land reform issue, I was happy to participate in the hope of reflecting some of the many positive developments on the island, such as the partnership with Argyll and Bute Council to provide affordable housing on Islay, the progress of Bridgend Hotel, the employment opportunities we provide for people on the island and the way that we have worked with Islay High School to train pupils in rural skills.

‘Instead, the result was a poor misrepresentation of the situation on the island. It is absolutely right that land reform campaigners make their voice heard as part of the debate but it is extremely disappointing that certain situations are portrayed inaccurately. For example, the BBC were taken to a disused cottage which a land reformer implied was an estate property that could be sold rather than be left in a neglected state. The property in question was sold by the estate to an individual 20 years ago; the next door building has also been sold and is currently being renovated; four adjacent development plots were sold to local buyers five years ago – all to meet local demand.

‘The BBC also referred to an estate decision to decline a farm tenancy to an individual despite being aware of the full facts surrounding that decision.  The reason the tenancy was declined was the estate firmly believed the individual in question did not possess the suitable skills to farm the land and animal welfare considerations formed part of that decision.

‘The suggestion broadcast by the BBC that part of the farm was to be used for housing is untrue. The previously rundown farm has been re-let to a new tenant who, working in partnership with the estate, has improved the condition of the land considerably. This is exactly the type of sustainable land use that the land reform agenda intends to achieve for the benefit of the wider community.

‘I made the point to the BBC that every penny made by Islay Estates is re-invested in the island. There are many constructive things happening on the island. No one should shrink from an informed land reform debate but surely the interests of everyone would be better served if arguments and media reporting was based on real facts, rather that misinformation, spin and a ritual desire to paint private landowners in a negative light.’

Islay Estates Company will be raising the above issues with the BBC.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • The Biased Broadcasting Company – no other name for it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

    Malcolm Kirk June 25, 2015 8:48 am Reply
  • I have great faith in the BBC’s ability to tell the truth – so to read this is very, very disturbing.
    If it’s down to one person in the BBC team, they deserve the bum’s rush – and if they don’t get it, then it would be necessary to take a can-opener to the BBC Scotland senior management and have a clean-out.
    There’s no room for any cosy institutional complacency if they’re into hyping stories to sensationalise them – and twisting the truth in the process.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 6

    Robert Wakeham June 25, 2015 9:23 am Reply
    • Come on Robert – what about Climate Change where they rigged their policy – Europe/EEC where there is never a bad word said – etc. etc. And as the Conservatives rightly point out they are rarely straight as far as reporting Tory policies or anything for that matter. Journalists recruited through the Guardian newspaper ????? There is no end to the bias you can accuse the BBC of.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 8

      Malcolm Kirk June 25, 2015 9:36 am Reply
      • Would you prefer the BBC journalists to be recruited from the Daily Mail which is far more biased towards the Tories

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

        Steve June 25, 2015 11:53 am Reply
        • Why do you think one biased system should be replaced by another ? I have never actually read the Mail although aware of it’s reputation. People have a choice of which media to view, however the BBC is followed by far greater numbers and carries much more weight therefore should take care to be seen as honest and responsible.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

          Malcolm Kirk June 25, 2015 1:02 pm Reply
          • The point I was making is that with all ‘news’there is bias. If they disagree with a persons point of view they are biased against them whereas if they agree with a persons point of view it is fair and accurate reporting.
            The sensible thing is to look at both sides of the arguement, the ‘biased’and the ‘unbiased’ BEFORE making your mind up as the truth is usually somewhere near the middle.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

            Steve June 25, 2015 11:49 pm
          • Not only is the BBC ‘followed by far greater numbers’ – in fact it is the sole source of news for more than half of the population – but it is funded by a sort of poll tax – so if you have a TV you pay for it whether you like it or not -and has a statutory duty to be impartial. Newspapers and magazines are private businesses which people can buy and read if they choose: they obviously each gave an editorial policy, ‘bias’ if you like, and come in all shades of political opinion. The positions are simply not comparable.

            I saw the item in question and all I could do was groan at the puerile Spartism of the whole thing.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

            Dugald Barr June 26, 2015 10:18 am
          • Surely you mean the truth or the non truth – the known or the unknown – as opposed to the biased or the unbiased. This is the British Broadcasting Corporation we are talking about not the Daily Mail, The Sun, The Record, Mirror etc etc. It’s a media source still respected round the World so that what it puts out is absorbed and the UK is likely to be judged on the BBC’s policies rather than the Governments

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

            Malcolm Kirk June 26, 2015 6:18 pm
  • Robert all reporters like a bit of sensationalism its what gets the publics attention.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

    gerry June 25, 2015 9:32 am Reply
    • Yes – but if it involves being not just ‘economical with the actualite’, but actively distorting the facts, and it’s the BBC, they deserve a one-way ticket to North Rona.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

      Robert Wakeham June 25, 2015 4:55 pm Reply
      • … or North Korea.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        Dugald Barr June 26, 2015 10:19 am Reply
  • How do Islay Estates negate what went out on the BBC Scotland programme. They can’t of course – the Biased Broadcasting Company have blackened the Estate’s efforts – it’s done – it can’t be undone. And that applies to so many things they report on.
    Gerry what would have been wrong with ‘sensationalising’ the truth/success – what’s wrong with ‘good news’. There is enough real bad news about why taint this report ?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

    Malcolm Kirk June 25, 2015 10:44 am Reply
    • I rather think that it can be undone, and that the BBC should be made to undo it – on all channels – and to publicly apologise both to the landowner and the community.
      Remember when Boris the Bounder was sent up to Liverpool to personally apologise for his smart-ass rubbishing of the grief after the killing of Ken Bigley?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

      Robert Wakeham June 25, 2015 5:02 pm Reply
      • What a hoot – you lot were ecstatic when the BBC was doing it’s best (as it still does) to rubbish the SNP – now when it doesn’t suit you (BBC attacking large [tory?] estate owner) it’s boo hoo time. Your hypocrisy makes me quite nauseous.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 12

        Kassandra June 25, 2015 6:45 pm Reply
        • What makes you think that some of us did not object to the anti SNP bias ?
          We most definitely did ! However the content broadcast about the SNP was absolute fact so there was no need for bias reporting !

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

          Malcolm Kirk June 25, 2015 7:01 pm Reply
        • What is published is notified to be a press statement from the Islay Estates.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

          newsroom June 25, 2015 8:33 pm Reply
        • For your information Kassandra the 4 people interviewed speaking against the estate were very vociferous in the yes Islay campaign and again chose to try and show things as being true when in fact they were not. Another point 3 of the 4 were close relatives. Uncle/aunt and nephew.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

          James Walsh June 25, 2015 8:51 pm Reply
  • This is not the first time that Tony Rozga (the first person interviewed) has been complaining on a BBC interview about the cost of land to build a house for himself. He was interviewed on a BBC Reporting Scotland piece a couple years ago where he said that a plot of land on Islay should cost about £10,000 to make it affordable for people like him to buy.
    His parents are farmers and they have a huge wind turbine which is easily visible from the Bridgend to Ballygrant road and all round. This wind turbine must have cost at £30,000 to install as it looks like one of the 15kw turbines. His mother also owns Kilmenny Country House so they are not exactly hard up.
    Mrs Rozga is also on the board of directors of Islay Energy Trust.
    Mrs Rozga attended the December 2014 meeting of Islay Community Council (ICC) where under AOCB (b) she expressed an interest in Land Reform and Islay Community Councillors present at that meeting agreed that Mrs Rozga should act as the ICC advisor with a view to co-opting her to the board (of Councillors). I enclose the minutes of the Dec 2014 meeting
    That is typical of some residents of Islay who are only interested in looking after their own vested interests.
    Tony Rozga conveniently omitted to tell James Cook of the BBC about his mother’s appointment on Islay Community Council.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

    Treble T June 25, 2015 12:34 pm Reply
    • The BBC article clearly states that “Tony Rozga, a land reform campaigner on Islay who did manage to buy his family farm from Islay Estates”. Friends on Islay tell me that he has recently built a large house on the farm a short distance from his parents’ home (the guest house).

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

      Alex McKay June 26, 2015 8:48 am Reply
  • Perhaps people posting on this link should limit theircomments to the BBC reporting on Islay, rather than generalised comments? Broad brush comments, and perhaps ill informed?, can never move a debate forward.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

    Argyll Traveller June 25, 2015 7:56 pm Reply

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