Min­is­ters to avoid Sal­mond’s talk show

● EX-SNP chief told he was ‘too hot a prop­erty’ for UK TV au­thor­i­ties

The Scotsman - - Front Page - By SCOTT MACNAB

Nicola Stur­geon has ruled out any Scottish Gov­ern­ment min­is­ter ap­pear­ing on her pre­de­ces­sor Alex Sal­mond’s new talk show that will air on Rus­sian tele­vi­sion.

The First Min­is­ter said she would have ad­vised the EX-SNP leader against choos­ing pub­lic broad­caster Rus­sia To­day for the pro­gramme if she had been asked.

Mr Sal­mond last night de­fended his me­dia out­let choice, say­ing he of­fered the show to Bri­tish broad­cast­ers, but was told he would be “too hot a prop­erty” for the UK mar­ket.

Scottish Gov­ern­ment min­is­ters will not ap­pear on Alex Sal­mond’s new talk show be­ing aired on Rus­sia To­day, a spokesman for Nicola Stur­geon has con­firmed.

The Alex Sal­mond Show will de­but on the Rus­sian-state funded chan­nel to­mor­row, but the for­mer first min­is­ter has come un­der fire amid claims that the broad­caster is a “pro­pa­ganda” ve­hi­cle for Vladimir Putin’s regime.

The EX-SNP leader re­vealed last night he of­fered the show to Bri­tish broad­cast­ers and was told he would be “too hot a prop­erty” for the Bri­tish tele­vi­sion au­thor­i­ties.

Ms Stur­geon said she would have ad­vised her pre­de­ces­sor against choos­ing Rus­sia To­day for the show. Mr Sal­mond headed the Scottish Gov­ern­ment for seven years un­til 2014, but asked if any min­is­ters from his for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tion would ap­pear on the de­but show, Ms Stur­geon’s spokesman replied: “No.” He added: “I don’t think you’ve seen any Scottish Gov­ern­ment min­is­ters on RT any­time, so I don’t an­tic­i­pate that chang­ing any time soon.” Sal­mond – who lost his West­min­ster seat in June – was un­veiled as RT’S new host last week. He has in­sisted that he will have ed­i­to­rial con­trol. His de­ci­sion to work for the chan­nel was crit­i­cised by Ms Stur­geon, who said she had not been asked about the ar­range­ment and would have ad­vised against it if she had been. Last month, Twit­ter banned RT ads af­ter US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies un­cov­ered ev­i­dence the chan­nel was part of a Rus­sian plot to un­der­mine the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in 2016. Mr Sal­mond is cur­rently bid­ding to be­come the chair­man of John­ston Press, which owns the Scots­man. He launched a de­fence of HIS de­ci­sion to ap­pear on the Rus­sia To­day dur­ing an ap­pear­ance on Chan­nel 4 News last night.

“I of­fered the show to a range of broad­cast­ers and rtuk put in the best of­fer and also one that of­fers an in­ter­na­tional plat­form.

“But it’s pro­duced by my pro­duc­tion com­pany, Slainte Pro­duc­tions, and it’s edited and pro­duced by me – any­thing in that pro­gramme will be mine and mine alone.”

He added: “Do you know what I was told by a broad­caster who wanted to broad­cast my show? I was told I would be too hot a prop­erty for the Bri­tish tele­vi­sion au­thor­i­ties. How do you square that with an ar­gu­ment for free­dom of speech?”

He added that about 100 MPS, in­clud­ing every party leader ex­cept Theresa May, have ap­peared on Rus­sia To­day. The ex-first min­is­ter re­jected claims that be­ing the an­chor of the show was a dif­fer­ent sce­nario which lended the sta­tion much-needed cred­i­bil­ity.

The Prime Min­is­ter this week launched an at­tack on Rus­sia ac­cus­ing it of seek­ing to “weaponise in­for­ma­tion” by plant­ing fake news to sow dis­cord in the west and un­der­mine na­tional in­sti­tu­tions.

PIC­TURE: PA

0 Alex Sal­mond’s show on Rus­sia To­day launches to­mor­row – but min­is­ters from his party’s gov­ern­ment will not be ap­pear­ing

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