UK-wide approach needed on press regulation

24.04.2013

A UK-wide approach is required to ensure proper regulation of the press according to a letter issued today (24 April) by the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee.

Issued to the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, the letter follows two focussed evidence sessions during which the Committee heard evidence from a number of witnesses – including representatives from the newspaper industry - about the implications for Scotland of the Royal Charter on the Self-Regulation of the Press.

Committee Convener Stewart Maxwell MSP said:

“The newspaper industry in Scotland is rightly proud of its role within Scottish public life. But where there is freedom of the press there is also responsibility to ensure fair reporting.

“Within the short timescale available to us, the Committee has listened to the views of witnesses who were clear that the press should be given one final opportunity to change. We feel a UK-wide Royal Charter allows the industry in Scotland, and indeed beyond, to do just that.

“For such a system to work, there must be participation of the press and this must be done willingly. Without this, the system will fail. Should that happen, then legislation must surely be the only option. The public would expect nothing less of its Parliament.”

The Committee also welcomed the work being done by the Scottish Government to ensure that appropriate respect for the recently deceased is included in the Royal Charter.

Background

A copy of the Committee’s letter can be found via the following link:

http://scottish.parliament.uk/S4_EducationandCultureCommittee/General%20Documents/
Letter_from_Stewart_Maxwell_to_Cabinet_Secretary_Fiona_Hyslop_24_April_2013.pdf

In order for the Royal Charter to be compliant in Scotland a number of amendments would need to be made. The Scottish Government is currently having discussion with the UK Government about these amendments.

The Royal Charter on the Self-Regulation of the Press was announced by the Prime Minister on Monday 18 March 2013. This followed an inquiry by Lord Justice Leveson on the role of the press.

The Committee held two evidence taking sessions during which it heard evidence from Rt Hon Lord McCluskey who chaired the Expert Group on the Leveson. The Committee also heard evidence from practising journalists and editors, a legal practitioner working in the field as well as a victim of press intrusion.
 
Full information about the Committee’s consideration can be found via the following link:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/62114.aspx

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