Media Reporting of Gaelic Often 'Unfair', claims Language Professor

Scottish media coverage of Gaelic has in part moved beyond fair comment and good taste, a leading language professor has claimed.

Kenneth MacKinnon, based at the University of Aberdeen, studied a year’s worth of newspaper clippings with clear instances of reporting delving into inaccuracy, prejudice and mockery.

Figures on public spending on Gaelic were in some cases misquoted and mistaken, said the honorary professor in language planning and development at Aberdeen’s Celtic department.

Prof MacKinnon told BBC Radio Scotland Highlands and Islands: “They probably think they are quite at liberty to be let loose on Gaelic where they wouldn't be allowed to say the same thing about minority communities within our society.”

He added: “It goes beyond fair comment and it very often goes beyond good taste as well.”

However, Prof MacKinnon qualified the criticisms in an interview with allmediascotland.com, stressing press coverage on the whole remains to a large degree “sympathetic”, according to his private study.

He told allmediascotland.com: “This is in the context of a great deal of straightforward press reporting and reasonably supportive comment.

“And also in the context that Gaelic organisations do a good job in representing the interests of Gaelic speakers though it is sometimes the case that one would like to see them a bit more prepared to speak out in public.”

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