RESEARCHERS have called for a new strategy to support and strengthen the media in Scotland.

Academic s at Glasgow University said Scotland should look to other territories including Denmark and Quebec, which have invested heavily in their media sectors.

Their report - ‘Scotland’s Sustainable Media Future: Challenges and Opportunities’ – is based on extensive interviews drawn from civic society, the media industry, government and regulatory bodies.

Dr Catherine Happer, director of the Glasgow University Media Group, said: “Scotland has historically had a huge appetite for news – media contributes hugely to the economy and is essential to our national identity and supporting an informed electorate.

“There is no shortage of talent and energy. This new report is a way to open up a dialogue about ways in which media might be supported to produce quality Scottish journalism, and to facilitate a referendum discussion which does not have to rely on misinformation, half-truths and personality-led rhetoric.”

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The report has been produced amid concerns over the financial viability of public interest journalism.

The report also states that large part of the media in the UK, including Scotland, have failed to adequately hold political decision makers to account.

The report says that there has been “an erosion of trust in mainstream media” rooted in a much broader and deeper crisis of trust in public institutions.

It notes that “good quality journalism, and in particular investigative journalism, is very expensive and requires investment for the longer term”, adding: “The ability to maintain such levels of long-form discursive journalism not only in print but also in the form of podcasts or data journalism has been one of the features of the Danish and Québecois approaches, meriting further investigation.”

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The report found that Yes-supporting blogs sprung up ahead of the Scottish independence referendum “rapidly grew in size to attract tens of thousands of readers despite their mixed quality and sometimes questionable journalistic integrity”.

It also describes a “growing culture of political impunity at UK level”, while it said the Scottish Government “has developed a reputation for intense media management and distrust of journalists”.

In June this year, the Scottish Government’s Working Group recommended the creation of a Scottish Public Interest Journalism Institute – an independent body to support the resilience and sustainability of the sector through research, grant making, training, and promoting media literacy.