Robert Jenrick urges ‘everyone who can to buy a newspaper’ as nation ‘needs a free press’
The Housing and Communities Secretary highlighted the vital work local, regional and national newspapers do for the UK’s communities and democracy, and said the coronavirus pandemic has placed news publications across the country “under significant financial pressure”. At the Government’s daily briefing, Mr Jenrick acknowledged the pressure and pleaded with the public to back their local media. Many titles have been forced to furlough staff and reduce pay due to advertising cuts as many businesses retrench in a bid to survive the lockdown.
He told the briefing: “That’s why it’s appropriate this afternoon that we’re joined by regional journalists who are doing so much to keep people informed about how the national effort is being coordinated in our own communities.
“A free country needs a free press.
“The national, the regional and the local newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure.
“I’d like to echo the words of the Culture Secretary recently in encouraging everyone who can to buy a newspaper.”
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Culture secretary Oliver Dowden had previously asked the public to help protect what he called the country’s newspapers.
He wrote in The Times: “Newspapers are at heart of the British media and essential to its vibrant mix.
“People across the country are rising to the coronavirus challenge and I suggest we all add one small thing to our to-do list: buy a paper.
“National, regional and local newspapers are under huge financial pressure, largely because of plummeting commercial advertising on their printed pages and websites.”
Mr Dowden added: “I have written to the 100 biggest brands in the UK to urge them to review their advertising policies and check they are not inappropriately blocking adverts from appearing next to news providing a vital public service.”
Many titles have been forced to furlough staff and reduce pay due to advertising cuts as many businesses retrench in a bid to survive the lockdown.
In London, the Evening Standard – which is distributed for free across the transport network – was forced to make significant efforts to cut staff costs.
Its sister websites the Independent and Indy100 were also affected.
The Daily Mail and General Trust, which owns the Mail, Metro and the i newspapers, has imposed a pay cut on all staff earning over £40,000 a year.
Published at Wed, 06 May 2020 17:26:00 +0000