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Scottish government rejects McCluskey report as first minister Alex Salmond looks to Westminster on press regulation

By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

March 20, 2013 | 3 min read

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed the Scottish government will not adopt proposals on a Scottish press regulator made in a report by Lord McCluskey, as it emerged a meeting took place between the MSP and her UK government counterpart, Maria Miller, before the report was published.

Proposals: Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop addressed MSPs

First minister Alex Salmond aligned himself with the Westminster proposals after a backlash from Scottish media and politicians on suggestions in the McCluskey report for a compulsory, fee-based regulatory system which raised fears of newspaper licensing. However, the Guardian reported indications the Scottish government had been looking towards a UK-wide proposal before the report was released.

Speaking to the BBC, Salmond said: "Let's look at the royal charter idea, let's look at it with an open mind and see if it meets Scottish circumstance and whether it answers the call of those who have been the victims of press malpractice, within the imperative of having a free and fearless press."

Hyslop told the Scottish parliament on Tuesday that the Scottish government intended to continue cross-party talks in Scotland and would seek meetings with Westminster to clarify the proposed royal charter's implications for Scots law.

Meanwhile, the UK government's proposals hit further doubt as The Spectator and Private Eye said they would not sign up to the charter, with a number of other publications seeking legal advice and reports of a possible boycott. The newspaper industry has cited fears the new system of press regulation will hamper Britain's free press.

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