MPs and MSs asked to support campaign against mass redundancies on Reach Welsh titles

  • 13 Jul 2020

More than 90 journalists in Wales have been told they could face redundancy, putting democracy at risk.

Every Welsh MP and Member of the Senedd has been asked to support a campaign against redundancy proposals announced by Reach, the largest publisher of newspapers in Wales.

Last week, Reach told more than 90 of its journalists in Wales that they were at risk of losing their jobs because of lost revenues during the lockdown.

In a letter to all 100 parliamentarians, the NUJ said the proposals posed "a grave threat to our media and to our Welsh democracy".

The MPs and MSs were asked to write to Alan Edmunds, a former editor of the Western Mail who is now Reach's chief operating officer and one of the two senior executives behind the plans.

Reach is by far the largest publisher of newspapers in Wales, with a stable that includes the Western Mail, the Daily Post, the South Wales Echo, the South Wales Evening Post, Wales on Sunday and a number of associated weekly papers, as well as the news websites WalesOnline and North Wales Live.

The letter also noted concerns about the decision to effectively merge Media Wales, the Cardiff and Swansea operation, with an English division of Reach covering the Midlands, Cheshire and Lincolnshire and further plans to integrate the work of journalists working in Wales with the London-based Daily Mirror, Daily Express and the Daily Star, as well as their websites.

The letter said:

"Inevitably this would dilute the Welsh content of the brands and lead to the publication of health and education stories, for example, that have no relevance in Wales because of the devolution settlement. It would create additional confusion in readers' minds about which level of government was responsible for public services in Wales. We regard these proposals as a grave threat to our media and to our Welsh democracy."

Siân Gwenllian MS, shadow minister for culture, education and the Welsh Language has responded by writing to the chief operations officer of Reach urging him to reconsider the propose job cuts. She said:

"As a member of the National Union of Journalists, I recognise the importance of a distinctly Welsh press and media, both in reflecting the values of our nation and in holding law makers to account. The timing of this announcement is a devastating blow to the individuals concerned in what was already an anxious time, and it opens a chasm in what was already a democratic deficit.
"Now more than ever, reporting on devolution and where decision making lies should be a priority for all media outlets. Any decision that impairs or threatens the ability to do so should be avoided at all cost."

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