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Sunday Mail Opinion; Voice of Scotland.

If you dared to ask him, Michael Forsyth, the Scots Secretary, would say that, of course, he is a believer in democracy. And the Sunday Mail has had no reason to doubt his democratic credentials ... until now.

Nine days ago, Michael Forsyth took the unprecedented and wholly unjustified step of deliberately withholding important information from the Sunday Mail and our 2.2 million readers.

He did this by holding a news briefing for Sunday newspaper journalists to which the Mail, Scotland's biggest-selling newspaper, was wilfully excluded.

You, our readers, were not allowed to hear Mr Forsyth's thoughts regarding sentencing in Scotland's courts.

Perhaps Mr Forsyth feels any newspaper which does not grovel before him must be punished.

So, information which he spoon feeds to obedient newspapers is blatantly withheld from a newspaper which has the courage not to bow the knee.

Such tactics, on one level, are petty, childish and contemptible. On another, more serious level, they reek of a flagrant disregard for the democratic process.

And no politician, even one as self-righteous as Mr Forsyth, should ever dare play fast and loose with the democratic process.

For a Minister of the Crown to behave in the petulant way he has towards this newspaper and its readers is demeaning to the office he holds.

Such high-handed behaviour opens him to charges of manipulation, duplicity and, indeed, cowardice.

And contempt for a free press and 2.2 Million readers.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 12, 1996
Words:238
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