Highlands and Islands Media Must be Supported Through Crisis

Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands John Finnie (pictured) has lent his support to the Scottish Newspaper Society’s request for assistance through the COVID-19 crisis.

Newspapers have seen a dramatic fall in sales figures as well as advertising revenue since the lockdown began, despite recording spikes in online traffic as people seek important information on the pandemic from trusted sources.

One title has already been forced to halt production temporarily and others are at risk of being forced to close permanently.

Among the Scottish Newspaper Society’s proposals were a business rates holiday and a direct support scheme similar to those established in other European countries.

The Green MSP has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance urging her to heed their requests.

Mr Finnie said:

“There is a long proud tradition of quality local journalism in the Highlands and Islands and it would be a real blow for the region if that were to disappear.

“These papers serve some of Scotland’s most remote communities and it is a bitter irony that they are suffering so much at a time when reliable information from trusted sources is so essential.

“In such a time of crisis it’s also important that politicians at every level face proper scrutiny.

“I would urge the Scottish Government to take the Newspaper Society’s requests seriously and do everything practicable to support the industry.”