The National Union of Journalists is calling on the Scottish government to carry out an inquiry into the effect that editorial cutbacks are having on “a free and diverse media in the country”.
A similar inquiry was held by the Welsh Assembly last year – with a report expected shortly. The union’s Scottish organiser Paul Holleran said in a release:
The NUJ in Scotland has sought political support for our hard pressed industry for a number of years but the situation has deteriorated to where there is a serious threat to the future of titles but also to the existence of some newspaper groups. We believe there is a duty on government to intervene and help create a safer, robust environment for the press and media to operate.
A motion at the Scottish Trades Union Congress said:
Congress calls on the general council to urge the Scottish Government to set up urgently a Commission of Inquiry into the future of the media in Scotland, and to call on all member unions and the Scottish Government to promote the survival of thriving and responsible media, including:
- supporting the creation of a Scottish Digital Broadcasting Network;
- supporting the development of trust models of media ownership, such as the Scott Trust, which owns the Guardian and Observer Group;
- campaigning for the development of new forms of community media;
- identifying and prosecuting media behaviour that breaches privacy laws;
- developing new regulatory mechanisms to replace the discredited UK Press Complaints Commission; and
- encouraging the development of new sources of funding for investigative journalism, including academic institutions and foundations concerned with civil society and democracy.