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Scottish government 'must save media industry'

2 May 2012

The NUJ has called for the Scottish government to launch an inquiry into the future of the country's media.

The union believes a series of cutbacks and redundancies is seriously threatening a free and diverse media in the country.

Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish organiser, said:

"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 not only a serious threat to the future of titles but also the existence of some newspaper groups.
"Government has a duty to intervene and help create a safer, robust environment for the press and media to operate."

The Express in Glasgow is due to shed 12 staff and 6 casual staff, the creation of Media Scotland has led to job losses in local newspapers that were part of Scottish & Universal Press, and the chief executive of the Scotsman has been sacked by Johnston Press.

The issue has also been raised with the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC). A motion at the STUC 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."

The Welsh Assembly held a similar inquiry last year and its members are expected to report their findings soon.

Tags: , cuts, redundancies, newspapers, Johnston Press, broadcasting, government scotland, assembly wales, express, media scotland, scotsman