Several MPs have rallied behind calls for hyperlocal and independent publications to be given government support to survive the Covid-19 crisis.
The publications – many belonging to the Independent Community News Network (ICNN) – were not included in the partnership announced between government and regional and national press last week.
The All-In, All Together campaign will see funding from government pay for advertising campaigns in 600 local and national titles over the next three months.
The campaign was heralded as vital to support the press industry as it continues to provide essential information and services to readers.
Now a raft of MPs has given their voices in calling for support top be extended to smaller, independent publications as part of the ICNN #saveindependentnews campaign.
Richard Fuller MP for North East Bedfordshire said: “The current medical crisis has brought into even sharper focus the importance of local media outlets. I am joining calls for local councils and government departments to channel more of their public notices through these outlets so that local people can access important messages more easily and quickly.”
Mohammad Yasin MP for Bedford & Kempston added: “It’s more important than ever that the scarce local news platforms that remain, like the Bedford Independent, are cherished and supported for the vital role they play in our community and to democracy.”
Hilary Benn MP for Leeds Central, said: “Independent publications like South Leeds Life are vital to local communities like ours, especially at times like this. We need to keep them going through this crisis so that they can carry on serving local people once it’s over. The problem is that advertising revenue has been severely hit, so one-way Government could help would be to place public health information advertisements in these newspapers.”
Others offering support include: Tommy Sheppard MP for Edinburgh East, Bob Seely MP for Isle of Wight, Joanna Cherry MP for Edinburgh South West, Kate Osamor MP for Edmonton, Feryal Clark MP for Enfield North and Chris Clarkson, MP for Heywood & Middleton.
The ICNN has warned that unless provided with support many independent titles face closure during the Covid-19 crisis.