The Ferret welcomes Cairncross Review, urges both Scottish and UK Governments to take action. 6

The Ferret welcomes Cairncross Review, urges both Scottish and UK Governments to take action.

The Cairncross Review into the future of news in the UK has been released today, following a period of public consultation.

The Ferret was one of a handful of Scottish organisations that submitted evidence to the review.

Lady Cairncross has proposed a number of measures that The Ferret supported in our submission, although there are a number of issues that she also does not address in sufficient depth.

Key proposals in the review include setting-up a new public body to provide funding for public interest news, recommendations that charity law and tax breaks are given to public interest news providers, and the review also proposes a probe by the Competitions and Markets Authority into the online advertising market.

The final report is silent of the role that the devolved administrations of the UK can play in supporting public interest local news, and, in our view, it does not sufficiently address the scope for using taxpayer cash to support new, sustainable models of locally-owned non-profit journalism or tackle important issues around media plurality.

A spokesperson for The Ferret said: “Whilst we welcome the broad thrust of the Cairncross Review the devil is in the details. We see a risk public resources could be channelled to major players who are already failing readers rather than new models who genuinely have public interest at heart.”

“Policy makers must now look to the future and be clear about how they will ensure any funds for public interest journalism are used to deliver maximum public benefit.”

The Scottish Government did not participate in the Cairncross Review, but here are three examples of policies that would support public interest news that the Scottish Government could take forwards independently of the UK government:

  • Establish an independent fund for public interest news, with the explicit aim of promoting media plurality, supporting the development of high-quality reader-supported non-profit news models, and tackling public interest reporting news gaps.
  • Reform of defamation laws in Scotland.
  • Reform of charity law in Scotland, to allow promoting public interest journalism to be adopted by Scottish charities and donors as a charitable purpose.

The Ferret is an award winning investigative journalism co-operative owned by our readers and writers. You can subscribe here: https://theferret.scot/subscribe

You can find the full Cairncross Review report here:

You can find the full Ferret submission to the Cairncross review here:

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