This week's Leitrim Observer
As many local 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 since the COVID-19 crisis. We have already seen the worrying reports of fake news being spread online and through messaging platforms like WhatsApp. 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.
“However 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 do 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”, the Limerick City TD concluded.