Minister Feighan says he has written to Minister with responsibility for Media, Catherine Martin TD, seeking public service funding supports for local and regional newspapers.
“Over many years, local newspapers were the main source for local news and sport results – newsagents sold hundreds of papers. Then came along local radio in the late 1980s, which became a source of competition. Now, the arrival of the Internet and social media has had a dramatic effect on the demand for the local paper, leading to dramatic drops in sales and advertising revenue. This has put many of these titles under financial pressure and facing possible closure. To date they have haemorrhaged staff and the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated their position”.
Minister Feighan went on to link so-called ‘fake news’ with social media. “It has been proven that some news sources publish ‘fake news’ on the Internet and social media…leading to misinformation, and presenting a real danger to our society. One only has to observe the recent election in the USA, where many people are convinced that this election was stolen from the outgoing President”.
Minister Feighan urged people – “especially our younger generation” – to continue to consume local newspapers.
“Like many things in life, if you don’t use it, you will lose it; since 2010, sixteen local papers have closed”.
He is now calling on Minister Martin to ensure that funding is provided for local newspapers as per the €5 million recently allocated to local radio.
“Local newspapers have had no such support from Government to date, yet they provide an essential public service to us as readers in the same market. I would like to see more advertising from Government and national agencies going to local papers, especially as many of our older people rely on local newspapers for their information”.
Concluding, he pledged to do all he can to help ensure that local newspapers are sustained.
“I urge my constituents to be aware of the imminent threat there is to this information resource that they and our forefathers relied on for many years”.