Thursday, 16 April 2009

NUJ to Government: 'Mergers mean more cuts'

The NUJ has reacted swiftly to a report in The Times today that the Government is preparing to push through a bill that would lead to a major shake up in the merger rules for newspapers, television and radio.
Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, said: “The big media companies are lobbying for mergers so they can swap titles and create regional monopolies with radio stations as well. This is not about improving the service to readers and advertisers or saving jobs. It is about a green light for more cuts to please shareholders.
“It would be government approval for soulless news factories producing allegedly local papers for huge areas with no real contact with the communities they serve.
“If the government are considering changing the rules to bail out the media companies they must insist on enforceable guarantees about journalism and jobs.
“Well over 100 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion supporting this demand for guarantees. I urge Culture Secretary Andy Burnham to listen to Members of Parliament and the communities they represent not those media executives who have lead our industry into crisis and are dancing to the tune of the city speculators who have caused this economic crisis.”

1 comment:

Chris Bullivant Snr said...

As a small newspaper publisher who has competed with large corporate publishers for many years I would like to record my concern regarding the proposed changes to the OFT rules regarding newspaper ownership in the UK. I have spoken to senior executives of three of the "magnificent seven" large publishers who are mooting the changes to government over the last few weeks and each of them has stated that their newspapers are still profitable despite the worst trading conditions since the three day week debacle in 1974.
With this fact in mind I ask, why do you propose the change then?. The answer, in my opinion, is that the proposal for change is put forward only to satisfy the financial demands of the same bankers who very nearly destroyed the country over the last year.
I am aware that there may be failures if one or more of the big publishers break their banking covenants (Ihave recently "been there")however, I believe that the staff employed by the failing companies will have little to fear if the newspapers they work for are as profitable as their executives claim they are because they are bound to be purchased by others wishing to participate in a great business model.( Yes, I do believe that the recent recent "belittleing" of the regional newspaper publishing model is allied to this attempt to change the OFT rules)