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  5. Newbrands Scotland publishes joint election manifesto with the NMA
Scottish editors have called for action to sustain the freedom and viability of UK news media as Newsbrands Scotland combined with the News Media Association to launch a news publishing manifesto ahead of the next general election.

The document highlights key policy areas requiring immediate attention, including a new deal between commercial news publishers and the BBC, artificial intelligence and intellectual property, and recognising the importance of local media to devolution and local economies

Herald editor Catherine Salmond said: “Both the next UK Government and the Scottish Governmentmust ensure legislation preserves press freedom, not sets new limits, and all politicians should commit to protecting our hard-fought freedoms. That press freedom is essential for democracy should never be taken for granted.”
Scotsman editor Neil McIntosh, who chairs Newsbrands Scotland’s editors’ commttee, said:  “The makers of large language models have already leaned heavily on quality journalism from around the world, including Scottish titles, to help their systems understand the world. Yet they’ve done this largely without permission or payment. So it’s clear the rights of creators urgently need to be secured through a strong, fit-for-purpose copyright framework.”
And Susan Windram, editor of The Oban Times, said: “Both UK and Scottish Ministers must explore ways to support local news, such as retaining the requirement for local councils to print public notices in local newspapers and diverting a greater proportion of its advertising spend into local media.
“By doing so, we can ensure that local journalism thrives and that our communities remain informed and engaged,” she added.
“Independent news publishers face major challenges and have pivoted to a future of digital subscriptions centred around quality journalism, but the BBC in Scotland continues to use the legally enforceable licence fee to fund the expansion of digital news services with which they will inevitably struggle to compete,” said Press & Journal editor Craig Walker.

“The next UK Government should use the forthcoming BBC Charter renewal process to re-write the rules and help preserve an industry with a centuries-old tradition of being a voice for communities across the country.”

Newsbrands Scotland director John McLellan said: “The next UK government must support a truly free and sustainable press,  essential for upholding democracy and scrutinising decisions by public authorities at all levels, so it is vital that all parties make firm commitments in their manifestos.

“Our own manifesto highlights key issues of crucial importance to the sector, and we would urge politicians of all parties to work collaboratively with us and other stakeholders to preserve and build media plurality in the UK.

“While some issues are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, this is still an opportunity to remind Holyrood politicians that they have a role to play too.”

The full manifesto can be read here.