Industry News

DCMS Committee Publishes Responses to Local Journalism Inquiry

By PPA Public Affairs Team

3 May 2022

The DCMS parliamentary committee has published responses submitted to its inquiry into the sustainability of local journalism. All of the responses can be found here, including the PPA’s submission.

The PPA’s submission emphasised the immense value that specialist media has in bringing together highly engaged communities of interest, just as local news outlets serve communities based on location. Our submission called for the Digital Markets Unit to be put on a statutory footing as soon as possible, and for the Online Safety Bill to protect specialist media titles which are already independently regulated.

The challenges our members are facing with print and paper costs were also set out by PPA: we called for the Government to introduce tax credits to support publishers. To ensure that the issues faced by specialist media and local news outlets are adequately analysed going forwards, PPA also argued that the Government should give Ofcom a duty to report annually on the health and state of the respective sectors.

Of note, Meta’s submission argued that the platform has provided ‘tools for news publishers to monetise their content and share data and insights with publishers to help support their businesses’. Discussing the the Cairncross Review, Meta said that future investment it makes in the sector ‘should continue to be grounded on genuine marketplace principles of free enterprise and freedom of contract’.

In contrast, Reach plc’s submission noted that as the publisher transitions towards a ‘digitally-driven future’, it is reliant on a small number of global technology platforms to reach audiences and that there is a lack of transparency on this relationship. Specifically, the company noted a lack of transparency surrounding the value of its content and the data that is generated by consumption of news as well as what drives the algorithms that can cause significant fluctuations in audience numbers for long periods of time.

PPA will continue to engage with the DCMS parliamentary committee as the inquiry progresses. If you would like to discuss the matters raised here, please email the PPA’s Public Affairs Executive Sebastian Cuttill – sebastian.cuttill@ppa.co.uk

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