South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne has welcomed the launch of a new review into press sustainability, with a particular focus on ensuring the future of local and regional press.
A free and vibrant press is a crucial part of any healthy democracy and local press such as the Shropshire Star, South Shropshire Journal and Bridgnorth Journal, are important and valued independent news sources for people across the south of the county.
But just as the internet has created opportunities for new platforms and new voices to emerge, it has also raised some real questions about the future of the press.
The Prime Minister has therefore announced an external review, led by a panel of experts, to examine the range of challenges that the press industry is facing. It will explore ways of ensuring our free press operates on a level playing field in the face of rapidly developing technology.
This follows a vote in the House of Lords for stringent conditions to be inflicted on the press which could lead to smaller, local papers being put out of business. The Government will oppose this attempt to curtail press freedoms whilst working to ensure the sustainability of local press.
Mr Dunne said:
“In Shropshire our local press is of a very high quality, and its coverage delivers news of direct interest and relevance to Salopians. But local press faces a different competitive environment today, with more and more people getting their news online.
“Politicians expect a tough but fair shake in the local press, and this is as it should be. Local media holds those in positions of authority to account, and reflects the critical values of what it means to live in a democracy. So it is right we look into the issues the industry is facing.
“That’s why I welcome this government review to ensure our local newspapers can have a viable future in the digital age.”