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Backing for the Free Press

Finlay Carson MSP

NEWSPAPERS across the country are struggling with production and distribution as sales fall and advertising vanishes in the Coronavirus crisis. Finlay Carson, Galloway and West Dumfries MSP, has backed calls to support Scotland's regional newspapers such as the Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press to ensure they survive the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak. Mr Carson's colleague, Shadow Finance Secretary Donald Cameron, has urged SNP Finance Secretary Kate Forbes to work closely with the UK Government in order to protect the newspaper industry. Plans include giving the media a 100 per cent holiday from rates payments and directing more Scottish Government advertising in the way of newspapers. The Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press has served the region for over 175 years, but this week temporarily suspended production of the print edition in a bid to protect the paper amid the crisis. The Scottish Conservatives have also suggested following a similar scheme to the Danish Government, who have introduced a fund for media organisations, which in Scotland could be replicated for around £25 million. Mr Carson says newspapers such as the Free Press provide vital and trusted information for local residents and are more vital than ever. "The Coronavirus crisis has shown just how vital it is for decisions to be held up to scrutiny and our newspapers play a vital role in that. "It is absolutely vital that both the Scottish and UK Governments work together in order to support the industry through this unprecedented crisis. "I was saddened to hear that the Free Press had suspended production this week, but I remain hugely confident that they can come through this crisis to continue serving the region they have done so well for over 175 years. "By directing more advertising revenue in the way of local press and providing them with a rates holiday, we can give them more confidence that they will emerge from this crisis. "Papers have been struggling for years, but we all need to support them now and I would encourage everyone where possible, to buy them during this period and beyond."

<< back Published: 14 Apr 2020, 10:16

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