22:57 GMT +320 November 2018
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    White House chief strategist Steve Bannon listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with county sheriffs in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington

    Scotland First Minister Quits BBC Event Over Bannon's Invitation

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    Nicola Sturgeon scrapped her plans to attend the joint BBC conference after learning that Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon would be there.

    Sturgeon claimed she didn’t want to appear at a conference that would allow Bannon to express his opinion freely, claiming that by doing so, she would be part of a process “legitimizing or normalizing far-right, racist views.” She also slammed the BBC for justifying including Bannon at the three-day News Xchange event in Edinburgh on November 13; the network called the former Trump strategist a “powerful and influential figure … promoting an anti-elite movement.” 

    READ MORE: Bannon on Trump Resistance in New York Times Op-ed: ‘This Is a Coup’

    Sturgeon and Bannon were scheduled to appear on different days during the event and didn’t have any common panels. Bannon had been invited on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) News Xchange committee, the BBC said in an official statement.

    “Good journalism in a world of fake news and disinformation is more vital than ever. Journalism is about asking tough questions and understanding what is happening in the world and why,” the statement said, adding “A conference designed to analyze the big issues impacting that world isn’t an endorsement of anyone or anything – it is a function of what journalism is.”

    The EBU also released a statement justifying Bannon’s presence as a “key influencer”  in the current mass media.

    “We also consider it our journalistic responsibility to share and scrutinize a range of relevant viewpoints within the framework of a balanced debate,” a spokesperson added.

    Steve Bannon assisted in running Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and was a chief White House strategist until August 2017 when he was fired by the US President. Bannon has continued to appear on TV shows and news media in the US and Europe, offering his commentary.

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