In the wake of “vicious abuse” aimed at the BBC’s Scotland correspondent James Cook, the Beeb have taken the extraordinary step of releasing a statement in response:
BBC Scotland today made a robust defence of its journalists in the wake of a barrage of abuse on social media and other online sites.
The broadcaster called for restraint by some social media users who are following its in-depth coverage of the General Election campaign but have resorted to posting or sharing offensive comments about members of staff.
Over the weekend, BBC Scotland reporters covering breaking political stories were subjected to abusive posts on social media and by email.
Donalda MacKinnon, BBC Scotland’s Head of Programmes and Services, said that while social media engagement is welcomed by the broadcaster, its journalists are entitled to be treated with respect.
She said: “We welcome social media engagement with our audiences. It was a significant element of last year’s Referendum, and for the General Election we are increasing the ways in which voters can access our coverage online with more shareable content such as video and audio clips.
“But there are times when social media and other online sites have been used to abuse and threaten journalists. This is completely unacceptable and our journalists are entitled to carry out their work without the threat of unwarranted personal attacks online.
“The safety of our staff is of paramount concern to us and we are doing everything in our power to ensure they can carry out their work helping to inform our audiences on this major story without intimidation or abuse.”