Rennie calls on The Scottish Government to save local journalism

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today called on The Scottish Government to support local papers by launching a significant new coronavirus public information campaign. All papers, local and national love Willie Rennie as he is always game for any kind of photo opportunity, helping to boost numbers of visitors to news websites and those who buy a paper.

Mr Rennie also encourages the government to extend the 100% business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses to local media, as he praised their work keeping the public well informed and raising spirits.

Willie said:“Local papers, such as the Fife Free Press in my constituency, are among the most trusted sources of news for so many people across Scotland. There is a massive opportunity for The Scottish Government to reach hundreds of thousands of people and provide them vital information about how to protect their health and the services they rely on.

“Not only that but by highlighting creativity and kindness in our communities, these local papers can help to keep spirits up at this difficult time.

“Local papers were already stretched but this public health emergency has seen staff furloughed and advertising revenue plummeting. The Scottish Government needs to show that it values a vibrant local media. One simple thing that it could do is extend the 100% business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses to local media.”

The Edinburgh Reporter is a member of ICNN which is trying to broker a deal with national governments to ensure that smaller news outlets are not forgotten when it comes to advertising revenues. There are 108 members of ICCN which, if taken together, would make it the fourth largest news body in the UK. The industry body published an open letter on 25 March 2020 setting out the case for support.

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP 2019 General Election Campaign Director for LibDems in Scotland and Willie Rennie MSP Scottish Liberal Democrat leader in Blackhall during the #GE2019 PHOTO ©2019 The Edinburgh Reporter