Allan Rennie, editor-in-chief of Media Scotland has told The Drum that the Lord McCluskey’s proposal for a compulsory press regulatory body underpinned by law is “not just an attack on press freedom it’s an attack on everyone’s freedom”.
Speaking with The Drum shortly after the Press Standards (Scotland) Bill proposal was made public by the Scottish Government this afternoon, Rennie commented: “Stripped bare it’s proposing that a government appointed regulator will have the ultimate power to order an investigation if any individual expresses an opinion and the problem with this kind of bill is it’s just so far in its definition of what is news.
“A school boy or school girl doing a blog on their school dinners would be covered by it, a football fan that runs his own fanzine would be covered by it, someone who posts an online comment on an article would be covered by it, a Women’s Guild who produce a church magazine would be covered by it. So, it’s not just about the press it’s about anyone in Scotland who dares to express an opinion.”
Rennie went onto describe the Scottish Government’s proposal as “the most draconian press bill probably in the Western world”, adding that the lengths the proposal goes to are “absolutely astonishing” given that it’s also covers celebrity gossip “[under the legislation] you’ll no longer be able to publish a piece of gossip about Kylie Minogue’s new hairdo,” he adds.
Rennie concluded that ultimately “there is a debate to be had about the regulation of the press but this is beyond the pale”.