Fund UK’s local news outlets or they won’t survive, MPs warn government

Struggling local media outlets should be helped to survive with government funding, a report by a committee of MPs has advised, warning of the damage to democracy and society from a decline in the quality of local reporting.카지노사이트

The report calls on the BBC to reconsider plans for its local radio stations to share more content across regions as part of its digital-first strategy, which the MPs say would “dilute the sense of localness” that sets the corporation’s stations apart from commercial rivals.

Other recommendations include making it easier for local news publishers to achieve charitable status and for the government to encourage more philanthropic funding of local journalism.

The report on the sustainability of local journalism, published by the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, outlines how many local publishers have struggled to adapt to the shift from print towards an online world. More than 300 local newspaper titles closed between 2009 and 2019.

It highlights what the MPs described as “the harmful impact on communities” from the decline in access to local news. This included a decrease in participation in civic life, less scrutiny of local government decisions and increasing levels of polarisation and misinformation.

“The disappearance of local news providers, which have always acted as the eyes and ears of their readers and held local decision makers to account, has ripped a hole in the heart of many communities,” said Damian Green MP, acting chair of the committee.

“Worryingly, it is the most deprived areas of the country that are most likely to miss out on coverage, compounding the disadvantages they already face.”바카라사이트

A key aspect of the report is its backing for an independent report by Dame Frances Cairncross on the future of the British media, which said in 2019 that local news coverage could disappear, which could pose a threat to the “long-term sustainability of democracy” unless the government provided direct financial support.

The MPs praised the BBC-funded local democracy reporter service (LDRS), which supports a network of journalists covering local news, while adding that more could be done to expand it across different platforms and calling for it to be protected during forthcoming BBC charter negotiations.

The report added that the BBC had written to MPs since the agreement on the report, which called for the corporation to reconsider proposed changes to local radio provision that would involve the greater sharing of news as part of regional hubs.

While the BBC said it had adopted a number of proposals, the MPs were still concerned that the main changes of concern to them would go ahead.

Addressing the role of social media and big digital firms, the report said that long-awaited digital markets legislation must enable news sites to negotiate a fair commercial relationship with online companies hosting their stories, such as Google and Meta.

Despite local news publishers’ collapse in revenues, the MPs highlighted what they described as encouraging examples of innovation and said that, with the right support, the sector could be revived and have a sustainable future.온라인카지노

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