NUJ condemns lack of action on closure of newspaper titles
7 December 2016
The NUJ has condemned the regulation authorities for taking no action over the closure of newspapers in Luton, Milton Keynes and Northampton which will have a serious effect on choice and media plurality.
The union contacted the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after Trinity Mirror announced the closure of OneMK, in Milton Keynes, Luton on Sunday and the Northampton Herald & Post, without consultation and with the loss of six editorial staff. The titles closed last week.
The letter to the authority said:
"Closing these titles will diminish plurality and competition and damage the interests of readers and the wider public. The announcement about shutting the titles was made as a fait accompli. There has been no public consultation with stakeholders, businesses, readers or staff. The titles have not been put up for sale. No other potentially interested party has had the opportunity to come forward or bid. There has been no opportunity to review the impact of the decision on editorial and business plurality, competition, public interest and the democratic deficit. The closure creates a monopoly for Johnston Press in Northants. This will be the only outlet for local newspaper advertising in print and online."
Since Trinity Mirror bought up Local World titles as part of a £220m deal last October, the company has been making editorial cuts and closing titles. The deal was investigated by the CMA, but it decided not to intervene. The union said that in light of subsequent developments it is now time to review the situation.
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said:
"The closure of these titles is a travesty. Trinity Mirror, and other publishers, will continue to act with impunity unless they are properly investigated by the organisations which are supposed to hold them to account. The Competition and Markets Authority should stop dragging its feet while titles continue to be allowed to shut down, dangerously diminishing plurality in our local media. It is just not good enough."