Chisholm makes robust case for free Press, claiming ‘creeping’ restrictions on journalists

THE director of the Scottish Newspaper Society, Jim Chisholm, has made a robust case for a free Press, claiming journalists are being increasingly prevented in doing their job, by ‘creeping’ restrictions.

Chisholm writes in both The Scotsman and The Herald today.

He begins, in The Scotsman, saying: “In the past year, the UK has plummeted from 19th to 28th on the World Press Freedom Index. Lord Justice Leveson’s report later this month is seen by many, within the UK and internationally, as the thin end of a sinister wedge.

“The Scottish press, with its 133 newspapers, represents a magnificent panoply of news service which is read by nearly 80 per cent of the adult population. In Scotland, we enjoy a relatively free news media, and First Minister, Alex Salmond, is admirably on the side of an unregulated press. Scotland is also the world’s most competitive newspaper market.

“But it is vital people understand that press freedom isn’t a given. Nor is it a switch that governments turn on or off. Its removal is a creeping phenomenon.

“Increasingly, journalists are being restricted in their reporting. Many local police are no longer allowed to speak to reporters. The police, fire and ambulance services are stopping photographers taking pictures, purporting all sorts of nebulous nonsense about privacy.”