THE “respect” shown for Nicola Sturgeon by the international media is the “complete opposite” to her portrayal in the UK, a CNN news anchor has said.

Speaking to The National, Ika Ferrer Gotic, a news producer and anchor at the CNN-affiliated N1, also said she had been subject to extremely “negative” comments on social media due to her praise of the First Minister and Scotland as a whole.

Gotic said: “I noticed in the last couple of months that the division is so bad that no matter who says it, if you say anything positive about Scotland you are immediately marked as pro-independence or pro-SNP.

“You get messages saying ‘don’t come here, you’re not welcome here’. But it doesn’t matter if it’s in the Union or not, it’s a beautiful country. Why is it so bad to say something nice about it?”

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Gotic works for N1, a channel which broadcasts across countries in the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.

She visited Glasgow during COP26 to report on the climate conference, and says there was a widespread perception of Sturgeon as a good leader among international journalists.

“The international media looks at Nicola Sturgeon, not as somebody who is dividing Scotland, [but] as a woman leader in Europe. This is how people see her,” Gotic said.

“I’ve been there, in November last year, and all of the journalists that were there, we all had the same opinion and we came from all over the world. People from Egypt, or India, or the United States, we had the same opinion.

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“There’s such a wide perception of her as a woman leader that is leading the nation in the right way, talking about green energy, using resources in the right way, respecting the LGBT community, we see her like that.”

Asked if there was much difference between the way that British and international media portrays the First Minister, Gotic said the two were “black and white”.

“Completely,” she said. “There is no grey zone. It is black and white.

“She’s a person who us in the international media respect very much, and that’s how she’s portrayed. Then I see the British media, and it’s the complete opposite. It’s always all her fault, never anybody else’s fault, and I think the international media is starting to pick up a little bit on that negativity towards her.

The National: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during the Cop26 summit in Glasgow. Picture date: Thursday November 11, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Cop26. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

“Everybody should be proud of her because she is the First Minister for all Scots, even those who didn’t vote for her. If they only knew how well she is doing in the international media, maybe they could be proud, because she really is,” Gotic said.

The news anchor further told The National she believed the “only reason” why she is targeted by anti-independence accounts on social media is because of the way in which she, as an international journalist, portrays Scotland and the First Minister in a positive light.

She went on: “When you speak on behalf of Scotland, saying how beautiful it is, some other groups start coming to your profile and being very negative: ‘You don’t know how it is’, ‘we don’t want you’.

“I never get in a discussion with them because then I would give them the power, but there’s been a lot of negativity in the past couple of months.”

Gotic said that she had adopted Scotland as her “second home” and felt a close tie to the country due to the history linking it and her native Bosnia.

She said: “I am Bosnian and during the war I lived in 14 countries, so I never really had a good sense of ‘home’, but the moment I landed in Scotland I felt home.

“All the Scots that spent the war in Bosnia being humanitarians, some of them got killed, we have a school named for a Scottish person, it’s such a long history, and all my friends that were here in Bosnia, they are now in Scotland.”

“I love Scotland. I adopted it as my second home,” she added.

However, Gotic said that the divisions in Scotland were running deep, saying that the nation is currently in a worse position than her home country.

She said: “In Bosnia, we had genocide. We recently had a war, but now we are not that divided.

“When I see that division, which is worse than in Bosnia, it really, really hurts. I don’t think there’s a more beautiful country than Scotland, and I’ve been all around the world.”

The news anchor was recently criticised after she spoke out on the abuse which BBC journalist James Cook suffered at a protest against the Tory leadership candidates at the Perth hustings.

When news of the incident first broke, she issued a statement online saying: “I'm a bit saddened today with the news coming out my adopted home. It is everyone's human right to speak their mind, to freedom of speech. To protest. To disagree.

“Abusing journalists isn't.

“#Scotland is better than this, I know this in my heart. We need to heal. I love you.”

However, when Cook later tweeted to say that abuse such as he had suffered was escalating and “fuelled by lies about our journalism designed to make money and to avoid scrutiny”, Gotic said he should not use the situation to push a “personal agenda”.

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The intervention was perceived negatively in some quarters, with a story even being published in one UK media outlet.

She said: “[They] say look you are SNP, an American mouthpiece. I’ve been a journalist for over ten years and nobody ever told me that, and I’m not American by the way!”

Gotic said a photo of her with the First Minister was often used as proof she is pro-SNP, but said that taking pictures with international figures was a very normal thing for journalists visiting a country to do.

“They keep pulling that picture up saying ‘oh you are SNP’,” she said. “I am not SNP, I just love having this picture. I’m proud of it.”