Scotland’s local newspapers remain key to keeping politicians accountable both locally and nationally, and are vital for democracy, according to SNP MSP Christine Grahame who contributes regular columns for weekly papers in her constituency.
The Midlothian South MSP voiced her strong support for the print press during a debate in the Scottish Parliament when politicians from across the political spectrum spoke of the need for the retention of a network of local papers across Scotland.
The motion proposed by Graeme Dey, SNP MSP for South Angus, stated: ‘That the Parliament celebrates the importance of local newspapers to communities across Scotland; believes that a well-resourced, diverse, free press is vital to democracy in Scotland and provides a type of coverage not available via other platforms.’
In her speech which paid tribute to the role of the local press, Ms Grahame explained that in the area she represented she had the Midlothian Advertiser, Peeblesshire News, Border Telegraph and Southern Reporter.
She told Parliament: “All those local papers are, for me, essential. They go into detail about controversial planning, whether schools are to close, the state of the roads, why a bridge is down if a river has overflowed, the announcements of hatches, matches and dispatches, who has been jailed, who has been fined—they make local justice public.”
Ms Grahame described local papers as not only embedded in the community, but knowledgeable about the community.
She added: “To quote a Borders expression, they’ve aye been. We must make sure that they are aye gonnae be. I celebrate local papers and hope that local people will continue to buy them.“