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Dorothy- Grace Elder

I take issue with some of Ken Houston's comments over press regulation - though agree to being thoroughly p…d off at Hacked Off. 

The NUJ has been bounced into their stance by Leveson et al and a continued war- cry that Something Must be Done. All this is because of some foul actions by some calling themselves journalists, almost entirely in the south. I say “calling themselves” because their actions didn't amount to journalism but to techno-moron illegal snooping. And if it's illegal - end of.

The pumped up hysteria hype is to shut up the free press.  Forgotten is the fact that the vast regulatory industry in the UK has been of little use in many areas. Think banking meltdown. And the linked "watchdog" industry (think Ninewells) with its pathetic reports needs de-worming. 

At the end of the day, the public still has one essential protection only - good investigative journalism. With staff numbers cut, that is difficult enough without adding more harassment of legitimate journalism. That is what is already being hit as a fall out.

The Scottish press is the least guilty of all - those of us who have worked on serious investigations over many years have not used slimy tricks.

And please remember we're up against not only the usual ambulance chasing lawyers but great battalions of publicly paid "press officers" and "communications teams" whose roles are often transmogrified into being barriers to legitimate public information.

The UK (and indeed secretive Scotland) remains, in the words of the late Claud Cockburn, "Adept at keeping the lid down on any stinking stew"

It's fair enough to suggest that members of the public join some new media regulator - but please, no more hand-picked grandees who have never worked in the media and don't know what the hell they're talking about. Most of all, they don't know just how censored information is nowadays and how difficult a journalist's job has become, even over the simplest query.

When will we see Parliamentarians at Holyrood or Westminster propose outsiders join their own cosy self-regulatory systems?

Dorothy- Grace Elder is an award-winning journalist, a member of the National Union of Journalists and former MSP.