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Journalism conference prompts 'quality debate'

Scotland’s top lawyers joined chief constables and leading players in the media at the Society of Editors’ annual Scottish conference.

They were there to discuss freedom of information and the relationship between police, press and the procurator fiscal service.

Chairman of the Society in Scotland, Donald Martin, who is also editor of the Evening Express in Aberdeen, said: “The quality of debate was fantastic.

“And it shows just how vital the police and Crown Office see newspapers when chief constables join the Crown Agent for Scotland in attending and taking part in the debate.”

Following presentations from Scottish information commissioner Kevin Dunion, Keith Perch, of Northcliffe Electronic Publishing, Assistant Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police Malcolm Dickson; national director of the Society of Editors Bob Satchwell, and Crown Agent for Scotland Norman McFadyen, there was a lively hour-long question and answer session chaired by Neil Benson, the Society of Editors’ national president.

The event culminated in a gala dinner held at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

With the likes of Robert Burns looking on, guests enjoyed speeches from Sir Timothy Clifford, director general of the National Galleries in Scotland, and the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Rt Hon George Reid, MSP.

Mr Reid, a former journalist and television producer for BBC, Granada Television and Scottish Television, spoke of his early days in newspapers in Alloa and how the Parliament building would become a great symbol for Scotland’s national heritage and pride.

Don said afterwards: “The evening was superb and capped a very interesting event.

“The location for the dinner was awe-inspiring and it did not pass many of us by that we were being watched by some of Scotland’s greatest names as we discussed our nation’s future and that of its press.”

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