Society of Editors welcomes new government plans to promote media freedom 

By Democrat reporter

New plans unveiled this week by the UK government to promote media freedom and protect journalists have been welcomed by the Society of Editors.

Announced as part of Journalism Matters week, the new protections will see enhanced training for police officers on the rights of journalists to report from protests, a new online portal for journalists to report abuse as well as a new industry task-force on keeping staff safe. The protections will build on the existing National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists launched in 2021.

Dawn Alford, right, Executive Director of the Society of Editors, said that at a time when accurate and verifiable news and information remains critical to the public’s understanding of world affairs, it is devastating that abuse and harassment of journalists remains so commonplace.

Bill Heaney, left, editor of The Democrat, , left, said: “It would be a positive step if the Scottish Parliament were to do something similar.

“We are learning more by the day in the Covid Inquiries about the shabby, anti-democrat subterfuge by which they operate.

“This modus operandi is also used by their colleagues on West Dunbartonshire Council and other public bodies who care not one bit about Press Freedom and the public’s right to know what is being done in their name.

“They might not like being held up to scrutiny, but their record is a very clear message that they should be – or else the Council should be put into special measures, which means that officials should be brought in from outside to bring some sanity to the pantomime which has been running for far too long in their Church Street headquarters.”

The Holyrood parliament in Edinburgh and West Dunbartonshire Council headquarters.

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