CULTURE Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, has confirmed the Scottish Government has no plans to introduce statutory measures – equivalent to section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 – to incentivise members of the press in Scotland to sign up to a state-approved regulator.
Both press regulation and the court system are devolved in Scotland.
Ms Hyslop set out the position following the closure this week of the UK Government’s consultation on section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.
The Culture Secretary had previously written to the UK Government to advise them that any such provision would not apply in Scotland and it is for the Scottish Government to determine how to proceed with press regulation north of the border.
Confirming the Scottish Government’s position, Ms Hyslop said: “A diverse and independent media is vital to sustaining a flourishing democracy.
“Any movement by the UK Government to action Section 40 must carefully consider potential threats to the health of our democratic life and to the freedom of the press.
“We are committed to ensuring the practices which led to the Leveson Inquiry in the first place do not happen again and we believe that all individuals should have the ability to seek redress when they feel they have been the victim of press malpractice.
“However, the context of press regulation in Scotland is quite distinct from that in England and Wales and section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act does not apply under Scots Law.
“We have not introduced statutory measures to incentivise participation in the regulatory system, as has happened in Westminster, and I can confirm we have no plans to do so.
“Despite press regulation being devolved, Scottish local and national media could be impacted by any decision to enact section 40 in England and Wales, and it is my view that the measures consulted on by the UK government would put at risk the viability of much of our independent media, particularly local newspapers, and pose a potential threat to freedom of the press.”
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