Both the SNP and STV have denied ‘gagging’ a journalist amidst accusations that the broadcaster’s digital politics and comment editor had been blocked from the website after political pressure was brought to bear by Nationalist politicians.
Reports in the Herald suggested that Stephen Daisley had been relieved of his web duties following complaints of a lack of impartiality in his writing. But others have leapt to Daisley’s defence, stating that there is a clear dividing line between commentary and news.
Daisley has been a regular contributor to the STV website, posting at least one opinion piece per week since 2014. His often critical comments of the SNP, whilst describing himself as a ‘friend’ of Labour, has been scolded by avid Nationalists.
A key critic of Daisley was SNP culture spokesman John Nicolson, who regularly took to Twitter to denounce him, most recently equating Daisley as a ‘polemicist’.
Daft tweet by Alan. He's a polemicist. Entitled to be so. SD is an editor for STV. Different role, obviously. https://t.co/aCrxUMnUBI
— JOHN NICOLSON M.P. (@MrJohnNicolson) August 18, 2016
Whilst refusing to be drawn on the allegations directly an STV spokeswoman said: “Our output and content will continue to evolve and Stephen Daisley is a key contributor to this as we enter the new parliamentary session.”
An SNP spokeswoman also added: “At no point did they (John Nicolson and Pete Wishart ask for Mr Daisley to stop writing and any suggestion otherwise is completely untrue. Any editorial decisions are entirely a matter for STV."
Since 19 July Daisley has been notable only by his absence from the STV website however, although the broadcaster insists he remains a key contributor.