Finnie calls for Scottish Government to support local press

07 May 2011 MSP pictured in the garden lobby during the MSP registration session. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

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Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands John Finnie has written to the Scottish Government urging it to heed urgent calls from local newspapers for support during the pandemic.

Newspapers in the highlands and islands have seen a serious drop in revenue during the coronavirus outbreak, despite many experiencing a rise in online readership.

In his letter to Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop, John Finnie noted the long and proud tradition of local journalism in the Highlands and Islands and warned that it would be near impossible to replace if lost.

The newspaper industry has asked the Scottish Government for a holiday from business rates and public health advertising money to be spent in local papers.

Mr Finnie said: ‘Trusted sources of diligently reported news are more vital now than they have ever been. Local media plays an important role in some of Scotland’s most remote communities and is vital when it comes to holding politicians to account.

‘The requests for support from local newspapers are modest but will have tangible benefits both for the papers themselves and the communities they serve. If the Scottish Government doesn’t act the Highlands and Islands risks losing an important asset which we’ll all come to miss.’