FM backs press
Sturgeon supports news media campaign
Facing the media: Nicola Sturgeon at the SNP conference (pic: Terry Murden)
Nicola Sturgeon has thrown her support behind the Journalism Matters campaign, arguing that a “free and fearless” press is a vital part of democracy.
In a contribution to the Journalism Matters campaign, run by the News Media Association, Scotland’s First Minister says a trusted press is an important part of the economic recovery from the impact of the coronavirus.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I am a firm believer that a free and fearless press is essential to hold those in power to account.
“The relationship between journalists and politicians is one that has tension at its heart.
“But it is a healthy tension, which can be productive and positive. Journalists are in the position to pose the questions that the public want to ask – and it is our duty as politicians to answer them as honestly and fairly as we can.
“Indeed, newspapers often don’t make life easy for politicians: but I absolutely recognise that it is not their job to do so.
“It is the role of journalists to ask those hard questions and, in doing so, provide a foundation for the democratic and open society in which we live.
“Of course we are not living in normal times. The COVID-19 pandemic means we are living in an unprecedented period.
“At the regular COVID-19 media briefings, I take questions from 15 to 20 media outlets every day, encompassing broadcast, print and online, with several of them covering news for their town, city or locality.
“I am keenly aware of how important it is that the questions receive the answers they deserve, because journalism is an essential part of the country’s response to COVID: not only by asking those hard questions, but also in communicating vital factual information to the public.
“Newspapers’ daily and weekly print stories that explain Government thinking and the latest response to the pandemic – but also relay the guidance and advice that can help protect its readers from this potentially deadly virus.
“In such a febrile and ever-changing situation, trusted and responsible journalism is as important as it has ever been.
“Newspapers also are an important part of the economic recovery from the impact of the virus. They can provide a vital platform, through their advertising, to businesses, in particular small and medium enterprises.
“So if, as I do, you value and truly believe in the enormous value of our democracy then you will join me in giving your support to newspapers during this year’s Journalism Matters campaign.
“Without highly trusted local journalism produced by newspapers, democracy itself would be undermined.
“Journalism Matters is a celebration of our newspapers and I am pleased to give it my full support.”
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