Minister must find creative way of supporting local newspapers through COVID 19 crisis - Greens

Photo - Brian Leddin, TD, Green Party spokesperson for Communications.

As many communities are in danger of losing their trusted news resource, the Green Party has called on Minister Richard Bruton to find a creative way of supporting local newspapers through the COVID-19 crisis.

Brian Leddin, TD, Green Party spokesperson for Communications, said: “Many local newspapers around the country are in danger of closure due to the dramatic decline in advertising revenue because of the COVID-19 crisis.

“We have already seen the worrying reports of fake news being spread online and through messaging platforms. Local newspapers are trusted in this country. There is a public health need for there to be trusted local news outlets to ensure that people receive information that is accurate, fair and accountable.

The Limerick City TD added: “We must make sure that any support given improves security for journalists at this time.

“Owners of local newspapers should not use the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to cut staffing levels where the underlying business is profitable.

“As well as the immediate funding crisis for local media, there is also a long-term challenge for the sector.

“In the medium term, we need a commission on the future of the media to examine options to make sure local media is sustainable, looking at best practice in other countries.

“We are living in unprecedented times. There will be a public health impact, especially in rural areas, if local newspapers are allowed to close.

“In the immediate term, I would encourage everyone to buy a copy of their local paper, either with their essential shop or online, to support a trusted source of local news.”

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