Shadow Culture Minister, Tracy Brabin MP, has called for local media and newspapers to be safeguarded in the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Writing in today’s (April 27) Yorkshire Post, Brabin acknowledged the financial crisis facing the regional press.
“It’s becoming ever clearer that our local media are going to need some increased help if they are to be with us throughout this crisis,” wrote Brabin.
The Shadow Minister for Cultural Industries called on the government to develop further initiatives, stating “media outlets are seeing their advertising revenue fall off a cliff”.
While Brabin acknowledged the work of the ‘All in, All together’ campaign between regional and national papers and the government, she called on the government to prioritise and work with local outlets to build advertising campaigns and to ensure the help given is not a one-off event.
She also called for news publishers to be entitled to 100 per cent business rate holidays.
Further points the Shadow Minister raised included a windfall tax of six per cent on the tech giants towards funding a News Recovery Plan suggested by the National Union of Journalists.
Brabin will today be raising a question in parliament to highlight the NUJ campaign ‘Fighting for freelances’.
The NUJ’s campaign was launched last week in a letter calling on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to recognise freelance media workers who have been unable to gain access to financial assistance and face severe hardship as a result of losing work.
Brabin, who was elected in the late Jo Cox’s constituency, said the loss of local press “would leave a devastating hole in the media for those who rely on it as a trustworthy source of news”.
The Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden last week wrote a letter in The Times urging the public to ‘buy a paper’ and described the media as the ‘fourth emergency service’ during the coronavirus pandemic.
Read the Shadow Culture Minister’s comment in full here.