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Press regulation in Scotland
Frogmarch 2002 - Whitby
We’ve had years of media stories about the misbehaviour of the some elements of the press, sometimes leading to criminal prosecutions. The Leveson Inquiry held high-profile hearings with many of the major players, and is due to report tomorrow. It is one of the big political stories of the moment, and their response to the report could define how political parties are judged going into the next general election.

But today the BBC reported that Holyrood will makes its own decision about press regulation. In particular, Alex Salmond said that he would not support state regulation of the press.


I’d not been aware before today that while control of broadcasting in Scotland is reserved to Westminster, regulation of the press is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament. Maybe this has been reported before, and I’d missed it, but I think our national broadcasters do us a disservice by concentrating on the Westminster response to Leveson, when that won’t be relevant to Scotland.

I suppose we could end up with state regulation of the press in England and Wales, but a softer contractual form of regulation in Scotland. Could this mean that London-based national titles could see an advantage to moving their publishing to Scotland?

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It's not really been reported, no. Relative coverage of devolved politics is pretty rubbish, it's not just Leveson.

Maybe if, post-Leveson, some of the national dailies choose to publish under the Scottish regulatory regime, we’ll see better coverage of devolved politics. One can hope!

The idea of moving the publishing to Scotland fascinates me. I can't see the new system trying to regulate all papers sold in the UK, so presumably it would come down to where they're published - and the arguments over _that_ would be fascinating to see.

Well, the papers are keen to offshore their ownership and investments for tax reasons, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t choose to do the same with their publishing for regulatory reasons.

It does make me think that any legislation in this area would be a nightmare to draft, and would inevitably be full of exploitable loopholes.

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