NUJ Scotland expects 'dramatic' increase in third party complaints against newspapers with Lord McLuskey's proposals
NUJ Scotland has welcomed the press regulation recommendations made by Lord McLuskey ‘s report following on from the Leveson Report, but admitted that a ‘dramatic’ increase in third party complaints against newspapers would be inevitable.
Speaking to The Drum in response to the Press Standards (Scotland) Bill proposals, Paul Holleran, Scottish organiser for the NUJ, said he felt the proposed measures were ‘constructive’ and ‘in-line’ with what the NUJ had called for and would protect journalists by being tied to its code of conduct.
“We like the idea of an independent regulator and board which is similar to the Irish model,” added Holleran who believed that the resulting body being formed would uphold the freedom of the press, while also expanding to cover online reporting and social media activity.
“This has been a particular problem for most of our members and is welcome from that perspective,” he continued.
Asked whether the proposals would heighten legal action against newspapers, Holleran said that he expected newspapers to follow the regulations, which would mean protection for their journalists.
“If they don’t step out of line and abuse the situation as we have seen on the national newspapers then I don’t think there will be any litigation,” however, asked whether he believed that there would be an increase from third party complaints, he agreed, stating that he expected those to increase “dramatically.”
Allan Rennie, editor-in-chief for Media Scotland has described the press regulation recommendations as “the most draconian press bill probably in the Western world”.
Speaking on behalf of The Scottish Newspaper Society, Tim Blott, regional manager of Newsquest Herald & Evening Times, commented: "The Scottish Newspaper Society is in favour of UK-wide, non-statutory regulation and is opposed to a Scotland-only solution, which we believe will be a costly burden on many small publishers who are already facing economic hardship."
Meanwhile, PPA Scotland's Expert Panel's response to the proposal was as follows: "PPA Scotland has been working with the Scottish Newspaper Society on the Scottish Government's response to the Leveson enquiry, embodied in the Scottish Government's Expert Panel report, released earlier today.
"We are opposing any form of statutory legislation. The Expert Panel's proposals ignore the industry's plans to establish independent, effective self-regulation which deliver fully on the Leveson principles.
"We are urging Scottish Government to operate in conjunction with London, as any magazine distributed in Scotland will also be available throughout the UK, meaning differences will be impossible to apply or monitor."