Boris Johnson Backs Journalism Matters

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today urged everyone to support the News Media Association’s Journalism Matters campaign, saying on Twitter that “local, regional and national newspapers have proved indispensable in keeping communities reliably informed” during the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a series of written articles for Journalism Matters, leading politicians from the three main parties in Westminster have explained why journalism has become so much important during the coronavirus pandemic. 

In his article, Minister of State for Media and Data John Whittingdale has said it remains his “absolute priority to do all I can to support local news outlets” which are “the cornerstone of a rich and varied media landscape.”

He said: “With increased misinformation on social media, trusted journalism has been a fundamental source of clarity throughout the pandemic. More than 85 per cent of adults turned to traditional media as a source of information about coronavirus.  And news organisations are more than four times as trusted for news and information about coronavirus than social media.

“Moreover, throughout lockdown, local and regional papers played a key role helping coordinate volunteering and neighbourhood efforts to make sure the vulnerable got the help they needed.”

He added:  “As the Minister with responsibility for the media it remains my absolute priority to do all I can to support local news outlets. They are the cornerstone of a rich and varied media landscape respected for its tenacity around the world.  

“We are privileged to have so many high quality outlets and I urge people to recognise and support all that’s best about this valuable industry by making sure they back – and buy – their local papers.” 

In her article, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said newspapers were an important part of the economic recovery from the impact of the virus providing a vital platform for businesses. 

She said: “In such a febrile and ever-changing situation, trusted and responsible journalism is as important as it has ever been.

“Newspapers also are an important part of the economic recovery from the impact of the virus. They can provide a vital platform, through their advertising, to businesses, in particular small and medium enterprises.

“So if, as I do, you value and truly believe in the enormous value of our democracy then you will join me in giving your support to newspapers during this year’s Journalism Matters campaign.

“Without highly trusted local journalism produced by newspapers, democracy itself would be undermined.

In an op ed for Journalism Matters, Shadow Culture Secretary Jo Stevens said the passing of Sir Harold Evans was an important reminder of the immense difference that journalism can make to people’s lives. 

“His passing was an important moment to remember the change that journalism can make. And that’s been thrown into sharp relief by the pandemic, during which newspapers have played a vital role in providing clear information to readers as a defence against the fake news and disinformation spreading so wildly online.

“Newspapers have also shared stories of hope, of unsung heroes and fostered a sense of community when everyone was struggling. But the pandemic has had a devastating effect on newspaper finances which were already struggling.”