First the good news: a new business was launched in Edinburgh yesterday. The even better news: it’s a news organisation, and we are in favour of these. The slightly worrying news? Sputnik is funded largely by the Kremlin and has been accused of violating journalistic standards to serve the interests of President Vladimir Putin.

Generally speaking, to western ways of thinking, media links to the state – any state – are considered unhealthy. Such organisations are looked on suspiciously. So, when it comes to trust, Sputnik already has its work cut out. It’s not about bias. No one calls Fox News objective. It’s about having clear state links and allegedly acting as mouthpiece of one of the world’s self-declared strongmen.

“Strong” governments such as President Putin’s rarely favour a strong press, at least in their own countries. And, while Sputnik’s top brass in Edinburgh might claim no iron hand clamps down on the clacking keyboards of Canning Street, doubts will remain about its real agenda.

There’s also a definite oddness about the business. The Herald first drew attention to the agency’s work in Scotland last year and, at yesterday’s launch, our photographer was denied entry, ostensibly for not giving notice he was coming. A small incident, but it’s hardly an indicator of a free press to keep a pressman out. True, our reporter was admitted, but a whiff remains of overwrought sensitivity.

Politicians and public figures in Scotland, meanwhile, must be sensitive to what is going on. At first, many cheerfully gave interviews. Now they are backing off. It’s a free country: anyone can give an interview or not. But they need to be aware who they are dealing with and how they might be used.

Our instinct is to say the more media the better. But Sputnik stands accused of being a satellite of the Kremlin, with one definition of satellite being, of course, an artificial body involved in communication.