A video circulated by the independent Scottish broadcaster STV, showing children praising First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s anti-coronavirus efforts, has been removed after viewers compared the footage to coverage from North Korea.
“This particular video was not part of a story, had no context around it, and did not meet our high standards for impartiality, so we deleted it and are reviewing how this happened”, an STV spokesperson was cited by the Express as saying on Sunday.
The remarks come after STV posted a series of clips on its Twitter page on Saturday, in which young boys and girls were seen giving kudos to Sturgeon for her tackling the COVID-19 crisis.
For those that missed the STV video that praised Nicola Sturgeon it's here, the internet never forgets. Indoctrination of children that North Korea and Kim Yung Un would envy this raising her to deity status. pic.twitter.com/uvPkMH6Ogt— Silvio Tattisconie ©💎 (@STattisconie) May 24, 2020
“The children of Scotland would like to say thank you to Nicola, our first minister. We are so grateful. Thank you for always keeping us safe, working so hard, being strong for us”, the kids said, apparently reading from a script.
The clips immediately provoked an uproar among netizens, with many subscribing to one Twitter user’s view that “it really is akin to North Korea where uncritical praise of the Dear Leader [Kim Jong-un] looks like this”.
Ian Murray, the Labour MP for Edinburgh South, in turn recalled in a tweet that Scotland has the “5th worst death rate in Europe”, adding, “how about the broadcast media do their job and scrutinise”.
He was echoed by Frasier Nelson, editor of The Spectator magazine, who described STV’s footage as “an odd video for an independent news organisation”.
The uproar comes after Sturgeon last week outlined a roadmap for Scotland to start loosening its coronavirus restrictions, adding that the lockdown will be lifted in four phases and that the first restrictions may be slightly eased this Thursday.
“It may be that we can do some of the things planned for one phase, but not others. Some things may happen more quickly, some will take longer”, she pointed out.
The remarks were preceded by developments earlier this month, when Sturgeon rejected accusations of a “cover-up” over a coronavirus outbreak during a Nike conference in Edinburgh in February as "nonsense" and "highly politicised".
“I was satisfied then and I am satisfied now that all appropriate steps were taken. At the time I probed whether we should be putting more information into the public domain. The advice, which is advice I accepted, is that it was not appropriate”, she emphasised.
The First Minister's comments followed a BBC investigation which revealed that the Nike conference hosted by Hilton Carlton Hotel in the Scottish capital saw 25 people become infected with COVID-19, including eight in Scotland.
As of Saturday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country had soared to 15,101, with 2,270 fatalities, according to the Scottish government website’s latest situation report.