More than 70 MPs have backed an Early Day Motion calling for the Government to intervene to support local journalism.
The motion carries a sting aimed at the big regional publishers when it says: "Government action in this area must focus on supporting local journalism not simply propping up companies that have already extracted millions of pounds from their businesses whilst cutting investment in editorial resources"
The full EDM states: "That this House regrets the trend of cutbacks and lack of investment in local journalism by the owners of local news providers; notes that since the summer of 2008 over 1,000 editorial posts in local news have been cut or left unfilled and that dozens of local newspaper offices have closed despite local newspapers remaining viable and profitable businesses from which huge sums having been returned to shareholders over a number of years and where the pay of directors has rocketed; further notes that local journalists are over-worked, often being forced to cover wider areas owing to staffing cutbacks; further notes that coverage of court trials, council meetings and local elections is in massive decline; re-affirms a commitment to high quality local journalism as an integral part of engaging people in their community, strengthening local identities and democracy; believes that Government action in this area must focus on supporting local journalism not simply propping up companies that have already extracted millions of pounds from their businesses whilst cutting investment in editorial resources; and therefore calls on the Government to explore innovative solutions to preserve local journalism and to ensure that state support, either in the form of deregulatory measures or financial help, is given only where firm guarantees on investment in local journalism are secured."
Early Day Motion 916 supporting local journalism - text and signatories
11 hours ago