Mark Hirst is a foreign correspondent with RIA Novosti, (Rossiya Segodnya/Russia Today), Russia's largest news organisation. Hirst is a former broadcast journalist with STV News. He has also produced and appeared in a number of documentary films for UK and international broadcasters. Hirst is a graduate of Queen Margaret University obtaining a BA Degree in Communication Studies.
History and career
From 2005 he was employed at the Scottish Parliament working for 4 MSPs. During his period working with the SNP Parliamentary Group he was voted Convener of the SNP Staff Association and subsequently established the first SNP Chapel of the National Union of Journalists and was elected Father of the Chapel. Hirst was previously a Shop Steward with the Transport and General Workers Union at the Viasystems plants in the Scottish Borders.
In August 2001 Hirst was a delegate at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in Wicklow, Republic of Ireland. The conference was attended by South African Ambassador to Ireland Melanie Verwoerd and the former South African Minister of Defence and Chief Negotiator Roelf Meyer. Meyer had led the negotiations on behalf of the South African National Party that ended Apartheid. Representatives of victims groups, church leaders, academics, political representatives and former combatants also attended.
In June 2002 it was reported that Hirst attended a briefing by the British Security Service (MI5) in the North of Scotland. In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Herald and Irish Sunday Tribune Hirst claimed the Intelligence Officer who conducted the briefing told delegates that the IRA "had fought a just cause" and "had won a successful campaign". The Home Office refused to comment but subsequently issued a DA-Notice preventing the UK media from publishing details of the officer’s identity. Martin Ingram, a former intelligence officer in the army’s spying arm, the Force Research Unit said: “I think what this officer is saying is an honest appraisal.”
In August 2004 Hirst was a speaker at the Damien Walsh Memorial Lecture at Queens University Belfast as part of the Féile an Phobail. The event was organised by the Victims and Survivors Trust. Former civil rights leader and journalist Eamonn McCann gave the second part of the lecture focused on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.
In 2003, in association with Atlantic Television and France 3, Hirst produced and appeared in Histoire d'un naufrage confidentiel (The Story of a Secret Sinking). The film won Best 'International Maritime Documentary' at the International Film Festival in Toulon in 2004. The film has subsequently been shown in 85 countries around the world and 200 million viewers. In 2005 Hirst founded the Lancastria Association of Scotland. In 2008 he successfully petitioned the Scottish Parliament calling on the Scottish Government to commission a Commemorative Lancastria Medal, which he designed. In June 2008 the first medals were issued by the First Minister of Scotland. In 2012 Hirst was Associate Producer for the documentary Maritime Mysteries, Case Closed which was broadcast on TV5 Monde.
Hirst has been a regular contributor to the Scottish Left Review magazine and also the Scots Independent newspaper. As a freelance journalist he has written for every national and regional newspaper in Scotland. He is a former reporter for Orkney Farmer magazine.
In 2009 Hirst was involved in supporting the Justice for Megrahi Committee and in June and July of that year he twice met with Abdelbaset al-Megrahi at Greenock Prison shortly before his release back to Libya.
For the past ten years Hirst has been involved in the production of over a dozen documentaries for a range of production companies including the BBC, ITN Factual, TV5 Monde, Atlantic Television, ZDF, Grande Angle Productions, Creative Differences, Arcadia Entertainment and Real Radio.
- RIA Novosti article, "Scottish nuke ban could lead to annexation and US sanctions", April 2014
- RIA Novosti article, "Scottish independence forecasts uncertain", April 2014
- Journalisted.com, "Mark Hirst - journalisted.com", April 2012
- STV News, "Disabled girl in respite battle", July 2013
- Extract from Sunday Herald article, "Fury as MI5 describe IRA terror as ‘just”", June 2004
- Sunday Herald article, "MI5 describe IRA terror as ‘just’", June 2004
- VAST, "Victims and Survivors Trust", August 2004
- Féile an Phobail official website, people’s festival”, November 2013
- Lancastria Wiki, "Lancastria", July 2013
- Scotsman story by Mark Hirst, "Wartime loss that has been ignored too long", August 2007
- Scotsman newspaper story by Mark Hirst, "Recognition remains sunk without trace", April 2012
- Grand Angle Productions, "Martyred Ships", November 2012
- Scottish Left Review, "We don't need no thought control by Mark Hirst", August 2010
- Scottish Left Review, "Gassing the past by Mark Hirst", May 2010
- Scottish Left Review, "Are we targets by Mark Hirst", May 2011
- Scots Independent, "Flag in the wind", July 2008
- Orkney Farmer Magazine, "The Orkney Farmer magazine team", July 2013
- The Scotsman,"Scots shipping boss linked to previous sinkings", August 2013
- The Sun "Disaster skipper deadly sinking number 2", August 2013
- Scottish Left Review, "Fragments of truth", August 2009