Watson adds his voice to criticism of Salmond-Murdoch relationship

THE MP who has arguably been newspapers boss, Rupert Murdoch’s most dogged critic at Westminister has added his voice to recent questioning of the relationship between Murdoch and First Minister, Alex Salmond.

Labour backbencher, Tom Watson, last night warned that Salmond risked being “eaten up” by Murdoch. He was speaking in Glasgow as part of the city’s Aye Write! book festival.

Watson has been at the forefont of Westminster’s inquiry into phone-hacking by Murdoch’s former newspaper, the News of the World, which was closed down in July amid the hacking allegations. His appearance is extensively reported in The Herald today, which is media partner of the festival.

Since the Murdoch-owned new title, The Scottish Sun on Sunday exclusivly reported, a fortnight ago, that the referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future will take place on October 18 2014, Salmond has been variously criticised for his relationship with Murdoch, which included the two men meeting following the Sun on Sunday launch.

The rest of the News International discussion at the Mitchell Library focussed on the effect the phone-hacking scandal has had on the media, and how the behaviour of some journalists has marred the credibility of newspapers.

After Watson’s session, during a debate on the future of the media, Malcolm Dean, former Guardian journalist; Charlie Beckett co-author of ‘Wikileaks: News in the Networked Era'; and Lucy Adams, chief reporter at The Herald; discussed the effect the internet has had on journalism, the role of citizen journalists, and the question of how journalism is going to continue to be paid for.

With specialist reporters being paid off all over the country, it was discussed whether news websites can continue to give content for free.

Beckett said he is certain there is no future for print press, but that the internet has opened up opportunities to journalists that never existed before, with citizen journalism not taking over, but rather, enhancing the power of journalism.

PS Watson writes a column for today’s Daily Record. Read it here.