Opinion: From our Readers - Stick to the facts about al-Megrahi

Regarding your Communications Crisis 2009 piece (Feature, 20 November), I would like to highlight a number of points about the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

While there has been a great deal of focus on the anger of the US families, who for years have been blatantly lied to by their own government, the UK relatives of victims have treated this issue with much more balance, albeit their reaction has been far less reported.

Having spoken directly to the BBC journalist who broke the story of al-Megrahi's release, I understand the leak did, in fact, come from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British Government, and not from the Scottish Government, as Jack Irvine states.

The piece also suggests that Irvine, of Media House, represents 'relatives of Lockerbie victims'. He may represent some, but certainly not the majority of relatives.

Irvine suggests the Scottish Government should have used someone with more experience, presumably himself. I think that would have been a huge mistake.

For Scottish journalists at least, the use of Media House by any organisation screams 'crisis PR management' and acts as a siren call to journalists to pick apart an organisation's reputation.

I agree that the PR management of al-Megrahi's release could have been handled much better. I was not party to that, but would have done it differently myself. However, if you are going to criticise it, you should know the basic facts, and not simply regurgitate half-truths; more importantly, stick to the facts.

Mark Hirst, parliamentary press officer, The Scottish Parliament

- Email letters (200 words maximum) to prweekletters@haymarket.com

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