The role of the media in Scottish politics

Scotland has a strong, independent media history separate from the rest of the UK with different newspaper titles, television and radio channels. The media’s role is to inform the Scottish public on important issues that affect the people of Scotland whether these issues are local, national or international.

Many people in Scotland continue to get their political news from newspapers but in recent years people are more likely to use the internet as a way to find out information. However, thousands of newspapers are still sold every day and many people read a newspaper online.

In Scotland the most widely read popular newspapers are the Scottish Sun and the Daily Record. The most widely read 'quality' newspapers are The Herald and the Scotsman.

In the UK, there is no requirement for newspapers to give a balanced view. As long as the information they contain is accurate, they can print more or less what they like. This means different newspapers can choose to report the news in different ways. In their choice of stories, pictures and headlines, newspapers can take a one-sided approach to news reporting.

At the time of an election newspapers are often very clear as to which political party they support urging their readers to vote for one political party or another. This does not mean that all voters are persuaded by the newspaper they read.

Television and radio political news reporting is different from newspapers as the law requires them to be fair and balanced. Different representatives from different political parties are each expected to be allowed to give their views on important issues. In recent years, a number of TV debates have been broadcast involving the leaders of different parties.

Increasingly people in Scotland are switching to the internet as a source of information, especially social media. As the internet allows almost anyone to post almost anything they choose, some of the information on the internet is not accurate. However, the internet does allow people almost unlimited access to information which means people are better informed than ever before. For political parties in Scotland, the internet offers the chance to connect directly with voters and to get their opinions across.