Newsquest Job Cuts

– in the Scottish Parliament on 11th December 2019.

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Photo of Andy Wightman Andy Wightman Green

The First Minister will be aware of job cuts at Newsquest, where journalists have voted for strike action. She will be aware that that is just the latest challenge for Scottish print media, following a 44 per cent decline in circulation since 2006.

Does she agree with me that a free press is a vital part of any democracy? Does she agree that journalists losing their jobs undermines the vital role that the media play in holding power to account? Does she agree that, at a political level, we need to explore what can be done to restore and sustain healthy and vibrant print media?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Yes, I agree that having a free media is essential to the health of our democracy. It is always a matter of concern and regret when journalists lose their jobs and are made redundant. All politicians feel the discomfort of media scrutiny from time to time, but it is essential that journalists are there to hold us to account and ensure that that scrutiny on behalf of the public happens.

Some of the cuts that are happening at Newsquest in particular are deeply concerning. I will not comment too much on the vote for strike action, as that is for the workers there to decide, but I fully understand the sentiment.

Politicians always have to be careful about how we look to intervene or do anything that could be construed as interfering in the media. However, I think that all of us want to make sure that we are doing what we can to support not just a free and fair media but a vibrant and successful media in Scotland and in countries around the world.