Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart today highlighted the importance of local media to communities during the coronavirus pandemic and called for Scottish Government support to ensure that newspapers, online news sites and radio can continue to operate.
During a virtual Holyrood question session, Ms Wishart asked Ministers for assurances that local media is being used to carry public health messages to keep the public informed and to provide income whilst advertising revenue has decreased.
Communities Secretary, Aileen Campbell, replied that local and community media should have access to some of the business and third sector coronavirus financial support introduced by the Scottish Government. Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, added that the government is working with the Scottish Newspaper Society on wider industry support and on advertising campaigns.
Ms Wishart said:
“I am pleased that government recognises that local newspapers and smaller independent news providers are trusted and essential sources of information for communities, and are especially valued during this pandemic. Print newspapers and radio are particularly important for those who are vulnerable or don’t have online access.
“It is very worrying that some print newspapers in Scotland have temporarily ceased publication and that some are in a difficult financial situation because of the loss of advertising revenue. I am grateful that Ministers recognise that financial support is needed and that government advertising will play a part in that.”