Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has called on both the government to support local news organisations struggling with the impact of coronavirus on their businesses. Mr Carmichael has backed the Independent Community News Network (ICNN) campaign to support independent news and today spoke out about the important social impact of quality local media.
“We are fortunate in the isles to benefit from a range of local media outlets. These do an essential job in informing the public and in holding those in power to account. The importance of their role has rarely been more evident than right now and yet they are facing a significant threat to their survival.
“A large proportion of news revenue comes from local business advertising. That advertising has almost disappeared overnight, and yet the press cannot simply shut up shop during the crisis, for both practical and moral reasons. It is noticeable that the governments in Edinburgh and London are spending a lot of money in national newspapers and on broadcast media. Local media outlets are generally more trusted as news carriers so it would make sense to concentrate more spending with them.”
“This is an industry that has a community benefit far beyond its expense and I believe that there is a role for government to play to ensure that distinctive local press survives and thrives. There is also a role for each of us in our communities to support local journalism where we can. A little support can go a long way.”