NMA Statement Following The Government’s Response To The Cairncross Review
Henry Faure Walker, chairman of the News Media Association, said: “The news media industry welcomed the launch of the Cairncross Review and the majority of its recommendations aimed at sustaining high quality journalism. We are encouraged by the importance placed on this by the Government and the progress made in some areas such establishing the CMA study into the dominance of the major online platforms and the commitment by the Government to further discussions with the NMA to support news journalism – particularly at a local level. We welcome the decision not to progress with the establishment of an Institute for Public Interest News.
“However, one year after Cairncross reported, we are disappointed at the lack of clear financial commitment by the Government to implement the Cairncross recommendations. The Future News Fund overseen by Nesta appears to be bypassing established local news publishers altogether, despite the fact that they account for the vast majority of local journalistic output across the UK. It is important that new initiatives work with (not against) and leverage the existing publishing infrastructure and deep expertise that already exists in news rooms across the UK. We hope measures will be announced in the Budget and the forthcoming spending review which will confirm Government’s support for the industry. We will be working with the Treasury to deliver on this.
“The next three years will be critical for journalism – particularly at a local and regional level – journalism that provides a huge public good to communities up and down the country. Meaningful, short-term funding initiatives to support local public interest news now, such as those already launched in Canada, Denmark and Australia, should be accelerated here in the UK to give local publishers the breathing space they need to develop viable business models online.
“Without swift and significant market intervention now, the flow of independent, high quality local news and information which is essential for the functioning of our democracy can no longer be guaranteed.”