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NUJ slams Conservative pledge to cut ownership 'red tape'

26 March 2009

The NUJ has hit out at a new Conservative Party policy on local media, saying it will do nothing to solve the problems facing quality journalism in the UK.

The Conservatives issued a statement today pledging to:

"review bureaucratic regulations around the ownership of local newspapers and allow local newspapers to consolidate, both with each other and across platforms into online, TV and radio."

Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, said:

"This looks like a policy that has been rushed out in response to calls by media owners who are simply looking to make even more cuts to our already struggling local press.
"These plans fail to deal with the problems facing local journalists. Consolidation of media ownership has meant office and title closures; it has meant journalists taken out of their communities, fundamentally undermining their ability to do their jobs well.
"The Conservative response to these problems seems to be more of the same, which will do nothing to help quality journalism.
"Where are the big ideas? We need our politicians to come up with proposals for how local journalism can be saved – not surrendered to big business interests who have taken multi-million pound profits whilst cutting back on quality journalism.
"The Conservatives might see media regulation as burdensome red tape – but it is what ensures people have access to varied media and different voices. To throw that protection away in response to business demands without any plans to secure improvement in journalism is foolhardy and an insult to our local communities."

The NUJ held a successful lobby of parliament over local media cuts yesterday.

More than ninety MPs have already signed an Early Day Motion on the local media that opposes "deregulatory measures" unless "firm guarantees on investment in local journalism are secured".

Tags: , television, ownership, local newspapers, quality journalism, new media, broadcasting, radio, newspapers, online