Media

Scottish Government publishes Leveson report press regulation recommendation and sparks newspaper licensing fears

By Angela Haggerty | Reporter

March 15, 2013 | 3 min read

The Scottish government will put forward a proposal for a compulsory press regulatory body underpinned by law covering all newspapers, magazines and news services in Scotland.

The findings of a group set up to examine the Leveson report and make recommendations for future press regulation in Scotland were revealed this afternoon, and said: "The principal difference between what we advise and what others have proposed is that the jurisdiction of the regulatory body must extend by law to all publishers of news-related material. No publisher of news-related material should be able to opt out of that jurisdiction."

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Leveson: The Scottish government proposal has been released

"We have little confidence that the voluntary 'opt in or opt out' model proposed by Leveson would work - whatever incentives were devised to encourage publishers to opt in."

The report also recommended that members of the regulatory body for Scotland's press would be liable to charges to fund it, in a move which echoes fears of newspaper licensing within the industry. One media insider told The Drum: "These measures are draconian and unprecedented in a parliamentary democracy. The provision that all publications are required to register with this new body is effectively newspaper licensing. There it is. In theory is could extend to everything from a parish newsletter to a fishing journal serving the north-east."

The news comes after talks at Westminster on the future of press regulation broke down, with prime minister David Cameron back a system regulated by Royal Charter, something which Labour and the Liberal Democrats oppose.

More on this breaking story to come.

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