Newspapers and magazines bodies unite in opposition to ‘McLeveson’ proposals

THE representative body for national and local newspapers in Scotland has thrown its weight behind UK-wide regulation of the Press in preference to the recommendations of a Scots panel on the subject.

And it has been joined by the representative body for magazine publishers in Scotland.

The Scottish Newspaper Society has written to First Minister, Alex Salmond, in response to recommendations made by an expert panel that he convened to consider how the report from last year’s inquiry, by Lord Justice Leveson into Press standards, might be implemented in Scotland.

That report – dubbed ‘McLeveson’ – was published on Friday, just days before a deal was scrambled in Westminster for regulation considered by many as less ‘draconian’ than what is being proposed for Scotland.

Says the letter: “The Scottish Newspaper Society has serious concerns about the Expert Panel report and the considerable extensions over and above the Leveson proposals. We are happy to go through these in detail should you wish.

However, events have been overtaken by the Royal Charter proposals by the three main UK political parties.

“As you are aware, the Scottish Newspaper Society is in favour of UK-wide, non-statutory regulation.

“Our main issue with what is proposed is the impact on regional and local newspapers, who were praised and exonerated in the Leveson report but now face a more expensive and extensive regulatory system at a time of economic recession and migration of revenues to the internet.”

The letter began with the Society saying it was “disappointed” that it “did not get any notice or prior view” of the ‘expert panel’ report.

It ended: “Currently, all stakeholders need time to reflect on the wide range of information and opinions that are emerging. The Scottish Newspaper Society is committed to a UK solution and we look forward to helping to provide a workable proposal as to how the UK and Scotland can deliver a world-class system for a self-regulated and free Press.”

And the Scottish Newspaper Society was joined by the Scottish branch of the magazines representative body, the Professional Publishers Association. It is appealing for support from individual magazine publishers of its opposition, also, to the recommendations of the Scots expert panel.

Says the PPA Scotland: “We are opposed to any form of statutory regulation. We are urging Scottish Government to operate in conjunction with Westminster, as any magazine distributed in Scotland will also be available throughout the UK, meaning differences will be difficult and costly to apply and monitor.”