Northern Ireland assembly calls for evidence on media sustainability

  • 16 Mar 2021

NUJ encourages all local members, chapels and branches to respond to the consultation.

Northern Ireland Parliament Buildings

© Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission

The Northern Ireland Assembly’s All Party Group (APG) on Press Freedom and Media Sustainability has invited industry stakeholders to submit evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and their views on the long-term sustainability of media organisations.

The NUJ has been involved in establishing this new group and is encouraging NUJ members who live and work in Northern Ireland to respond to the consultation.

Local media workers and outlets across the industry are encouraged to submit written evidence about their experience of the pandemic, as well as give their views on the long-term viability of the local media and how government can help the media industry.

The call for evidence will help to inform the development of a recovery plan that will allow local media outlets to survive not just beyond the immediate COVID-19 crisis, but well into the future.

The APG was formed in January 2021 with the intention of tackling threats and harassment targeted at journalists in Northern Ireland, as well the as broader questions about the long-term sustainability of the local media.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: "The NUJ has been instrumental in the development of this group and we welcome the opportunity to work with different stakeholders to help support the media in Northern Ireland. I would encourage members to take part in this consultation and the union centrally will also be submitting evidence."

Matthew O'Toole MLA, APG chair, said:

"A viable, sustainable local media is crucial to supporting communities, local economies and local democracy. The existing crisis facing media outlets has been hugely exacerbated by the economic impact of the pandemic. The potential disappearance of local newspapers threatens not just the people who own papers, but the resilience of the local communities they serve. Local newspapers bind communities together, underpin economies and mitigate against isolation. They are a critical meeting point for people and places. The APG is keen to hear from local stakeholders of all sizes and work with them to explore radical ideas to make our local media sustainable into the future."

Mike Nesbitt MLA, APG vice-chair, said:

"The freedom of the media to report and challenge is critical to the health of any democracy. This is especially true of Northern Ireland, where our Assembly lacks an official opposition and a second chamber like the Seanad Éireann in Dublin or House of Lords in London. That makes the role of the media even more important than elsewhere. It is vital MLAs understand their concerns and threats."
This consultation has now closed.

The NUJ has published a series of News Recovery Plans, available on the union's website:

Coronavirus graphic
From Health Crisis to Good News: A recovery plan for the news industry in Northern Ireland

As Northern Ireland comes to grips with the damage wrought by the Covid-19 crisis, the National Union of Journalists, UK and Ireland, is calling for a...

05 November 2020
COVER: From Health Crisis to Good News
From Health Crisis to Good News

A recovery plan for the news industry by the NUJ.

16 April 2020

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