A new paper for more neutrality?

Tomorrow morning, a new newspaper will wait in the display cases for buyers. It’s named The National and launched by the Herald & Times Group obviously, the Herald writes on it here. The National is supposed to be a pro-independence paper which is a bit strange considering the fact that Scotland said No to independence on the past September 18th. But, and that’s not new to my readers, the Yes-movement has survived the No and seems to be growing; it’s quite loud anyway, I cannot tell whether or not the total number is increasing in fact; polls say so, anyway.

And since then, the Yes-movement insists that biased media coverage – the accusations were directed particularly against the BBC, let’s remember the protests in front of the headquarters – of the previously available papers and broadcasters essentially led to fact that the No could prevail at all. This is not quite as far-fetched as it does seem at first glance. For, as I repeatedly wrote myself on sir2014.wordpress.com, fear played a major role in the decision. Fear of financial ruin primarily. However, it is important to keep in mind that this fear was fueled not only by information that spoke for a No and were supposedly communicated on media with a particular emphasis, but also by the Yes-camp that didn’t deliver satisfying responses in controversial discussions. Let’s think of Alex Salmond whose only answer to the question after a plan B for a possible fail of a currency union between iScotland and rest of UK was that a currency union would be the only logical solution. So, in my honest opinion, it’s not right to blame the media and the No camp only.

Anyway. Tomorrow, a new paper will be born. And bought, I bet. Being a journalist, I observe that with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other. New papers with unusual perspectives – if they have and not only promise them, of course – are an asset of the press segment. They mean competition, and competition is good for the standards of quality and breadth of topics. And if this newspaper should prevail – initially it has five days to prove itself and it’s profitability on the market, if I’ve understood correctly – then it means hopefully new jobs for well-trained journalists. This is good, no question.

But the neutrality that would be healthy for Scotland which, from my view, already is torn between “the dream will never die” and “finally accept the democratic outcome and let us build a better Britain rather than promoting nationalism ” is at least debatable when The Nationalist is created with a pro-independence twist from the outset. It’s not a good development that the press market now seemingly carries on the rupture that already happens in neighbourhoods and circle of friends and divides Scotland into a blind Yes and a blind No without openness for the other side’s views and arguments. And honestly, I do not believe in altruistic reasons for this newspaper. Someone has recognized that the enthusiasm of the Yes-movement can potentially be a source of money.

How good or bad the quality and the neutrality of the newspaper will ultimately be, can not be judged until the first few editions were published and a certain routine was set. Should The Nationalist turn out to be the voice of the Yes-movement, publishing unfiltered views, I would be quite critical of it. Journalists should it be there to ask questions, ask for clear answers and put all information into question again. From both sides and all possible alternatives, without giving preference to one side. Also not to nationalism. That’s what I wish for Scotland’s sake.

©Maria Pakura


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