Jeremy Hunt MP noted on Thursday that the newspaper industry is in trouble and others have worried that, without a vigorous press, democracy will lose its watchdogs. But should newspapers join the growing list of industries receiving special government subsidy?
A report in Friday's Scotsman suggested that Scottish Conservatives think the answer to that question is 'yes'.
"Tory media spokesman Ted Brocklebank [MSP] has called on the Scottish Government to re- consider its decision to switch its advertising to the internet in a bid to tackle the financial problems in the newspaper industry."
That's a bad call; bad for taxpayers and also potentially bad for democracy. We need a free press but we need that free press to be fiercely independent of government. If the press starts to rely on state-subsidised favours for its survival we are on a very slippery slope.