DCSIMG

Press regulation

Alf Young (Perspective, 1 December) seems to think that Scotland should just accept whatever solution the Westminster Parliament comes up with to regulate or not to regulate the press.

Yet Scotland already has the devolved power to regulate the press and not to use it would be a mistake.

Ireland has led the way with an independent press council representing civic society and with trade union representation and a press ombudsman to investigate complaints.

Incidentally, all the English-based newspapers that sell Irish editions accept this arrangement.

So, ironically, a Scottish press council and ombudsman which applied to the English-based editions sold here could, with the Irish Press Council, effectively regulate English newspapers even if David Cameron doesn’t want to regulate.

I am a member of the National Union of Journalists’ Ethics 
Council and the members are 
following events in Scotland with great interest.

Hugh Kerr

Braehead Avenue

Edinburgh

The British press has had numerous last chances to put its house in order. In 1993 the Calcutt 
Review concluded that the self-regulating Press Complaints Commission was “not… an effective regulator of the press”. It recommended a press complaints tribunal backed by statute. The then Tory government failed to implement this.

In November 2006, the then Labour government was eventually presented with the findings of the Operation Motorman report that catalogued more than 3,000 breaches of data protection laws. However, despite the tough recommendations in the report, no action was taken by the then prime minister Tony Blair, nor by Gordon Brown’s administration, which took over a few months later, in June 2007.

At the time Murdoch and News International were supporting Labour and we remember The Sun’s 2007 polling day front page “don’t vote SNP” noose. Unlike in Scotland, as Leveson pointed out, all Westminster governments have too cosy a relationship with numerous press barons and are unlikely to act.

In Scotland, given our different laws, it is important that all political parties at Holyrood put aside petty point scoring and introduce independent regulation with a provision for errors of fact and political misinformation to be corrected and given the same prominence as the original 
offence.

Calum Stewart

Montague Street

Edinburgh

 
 
 

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