Mark Hirst

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Mark Hirst
Mark Hirst Speech At the Scottish Parlianment.jpg
Mark Hirst speaking outside the Scottish Parliament.

Mark Hirst is former Editor-in-Chief of Radio Sputnik/Sputnik News UK, formerly RIA Novosti, (Rossiya Segodnya/Russia Today), Russia's largest news organisation.[1][2][3] Hirst is a former broadcast journalist[4] with STV News.[5] He has also produced and appeared in a number of independently-made documentary films.


Hirst has a BA in Communication Studies from Queen Margaret University. In 2001 Hirst was a communications officer for Orkney Islands Council. In 2003 he was appointed as press officer for the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration.[citation needed]


Hirst has worked as a staffer for four Scottish National Party politicians including Sandra White and Christine Grahame[6][7]


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.[8][9] Former civil rights leader and journalist Eamonn McCann gave the second part of the lecture focused on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

In 2003 Hirst produced and appeared in Histoire d'un naufrage confidentiel (The Story of a Secret Sinking) in association with Atlantic Television and France 3. At the Toulon Film Festival in 2004, a three-day maritime festival in France, it won Best 'International Documentary'. The film subsequently screened in 85 countries. In 2017 Hirst was Associate Producer for an episode of “Combat Ships” broadcast on the History Channel.[10]

In 2005 Hirst co-founded the Lancastria Association of Scotland. In 2008 he successfully petitioned the Scottish Parliament to commission a Commemorative Lancastria Medal, which he designed.[11][12][13] In 2012 Hirst was an Associate Producer for the documentary Maritime Mysteries, Case Closed broadcast on the French international channel TV5 Monde.[14] In 2015 Hirst directed a one-hour documentary, The Ablyazov Syndicate, examining an alleged multibillion-dollar fraud of the BTA Bank by its former Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov.[15][16]

Hirst has contributed articles to the Scottish Left Review magazine[17][18][19] and also the Scots Independent newspaper.[20] A former reporter for Orkney Farmer magazine.,[21] Hirst has written for every newspaper in Scotland.[citation needed] [22]

Arrest, Charges, Trial, Aquittal[edit]

In March 2020, Mark Hirst released a youtube video where he said that the legally-protected anonymity of women who had accused Alex Salmond of sexual assault would not be continued and they were "going to reap the whirlwind."[23] When those remarks were criticised by Rape Crisis Scotland, Hirst alleged Rape Crisis Scotland had been directed by the Labour Party.[24] Following an investigation into reports of menacing communication, Hirst was arrested and charged by police in May.[25] At a hearing in August 2020 Hirst pled not guilty to an amended charge that he had acted in a “threatening or abusive manner”.[26] On 8 January 2021, at Jedburgh Sherrif Court, it was ruled that Mark Hirst had no case to answer.[27] SNP MP, Kenny MacAskill, the former Scottish Justice Secretary writing in The Scotsman said the action following the Alex Salmond Trial raised serious questions about Scotland’s prosecutors, stating, “This isn’t just an abuse of process; it’s looking like an abuse of power.”[28] Responding to Hirst's acquittal the President of the Chartered Institute of Journalist, Professor Tim Crook, said, "Mark Hirst is a respected professional journalist and a member of our Institute. Freedom of expression in the UK means that he has the right to exercise his skills with political activism in the media.”[29] Following his acquittal lawyers acting for Hirst confirmed they would sue both the Crown Office and Police Scotland for "malicious prosecution".[30][31]


  1. ^ Russian Embassy Mass media in UK, "Russian mass media", May 2018
  2. ^ RIA Novosti article, "Scottish nuke ban could lead to annexation and US sanctions", April 2014
  3. ^ RIA Novosti article, "Scottish independence forecasts uncertain", April 2014
  4. ^, "Mark Hirst -", April 2012
  5. ^ "Disabled girl in respite battle", July 2013
  6. ^ "Former SNP staffer says anonymity of Alex Salmond trial witnesses 'will not be continued'".
  7. ^ "Alex Salmond ally says accusers will 'reap a whirlwind'". 31 March 2020.
  8. ^ VAST, "Victims and Survivors Trust", August 2004
  9. ^ Féile an Phobail official website, "The people’s festival", November 2013
  10. ^ Combat Ships Rescue ships episode “Rescue ships”, March 2017
  11. ^ Lancastria Wiki, "Lancastria", July 2013
  12. ^ Scotsman story by Mark Hirst, "Wartime loss that has been ignored too long", August 2007
  13. ^ Scotsman newspaper story by Mark Hirst, "Recognition remains sunk without trace", April 2012
  14. ^ Grand Angle Productions, "Martyred Ships" Archived 2014-01-13 at the Wayback Machine, November 2012
  15. ^ The Ablyazov Syndicate, "The Ablyazov Syndicate documentary" Archived 2016-04-23 at the Wayback Machine, January 2016
  16. ^ IMDb profile "The Ablyazov Syndicate", "Trailer - Ablyazov Syndicate documentary", January 2016
  17. ^ Scottish Left Review, "We don't need no thought control by Mark Hirst", August 2010
  18. ^ Scottish Left Review, "Gassing the past by Mark Hirst", May 2010
  19. ^ Scottish Left Review, "Are we targets by Mark Hirst", May 2011
  20. ^ Scots Independent, "Flag in the wind" Archived 2008-12-03 at the Wayback Machine, July 2008
  21. ^ Orkney Farmer Magazine, "The Orkney Farmer magazine team" Archived 2013-07-29 at the Wayback Machine July 2013
  22. ^ The Scotsman,"Scots shipping boss linked to previous sinkings", August 2013
  23. ^ "Alex Salmond ally says accusers will 'reap a whirlwind'". STV. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  24. ^ "Former SNP staffer says anonymity of Alex Salmond trial witnesses 'will not be continued'". The Scotsman. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  25. ^ "Former Sputnik editor arrested after probe into "menacing" Salmond accuser video". Daily Record. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  26. ^ "Borders court: Former SNP official faces trial". The Scotsman. 4 August 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  27. ^ "Borders man cleared of threatening witnesses in Alex Salmond trial". Border Telegraph. 8 January 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  28. ^ "Alex Salmond affair starting to look like an abuse of power – Kenny MacAskill". The Scotsman. 4 June 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  29. ^ "CIoJ member acquitted – Tim Crook". CIoJ. 10 January 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  30. ^ "Hirst sues for 'malicious prosecution' – Robert Fairbairn". The Times. 15 February 2021. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  31. ^ "Mark Hirst to sue Crown Office – Callum Hodgton". The Border Telegraph. 12 February 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2021.

External links[edit]