London: UK Prime Minister Theresa May today announced that her government will launch a review into the sustainability of Britain’s newspaper industry by exploring alternate funding models, asserting the changes in technology were threatening “good quality journalism”.
Speaking at an event in Manchester to mark the centenary of women’s right to vote in the UK, May warned that the disappearance of hundreds of newspaper titles was dangerous for democracy.
“We will launch a review to examine the sustainability of our national and local press. It will look at the different business models for high-quality journalism,” she said.
May said the changes in technology were having a profound impact on “our free press” and threatening “good quality journalism”.
“In recent years, especially in local journalism, we have seen falling circulations, a hollowing-out of local newsrooms and fears for the future sustainability of high-quality journalism.
Over 200 local papers have closed since 2005,” she said.
May said her review was aimed at championing trusted and credible news sources to prevent against vulnerability to “untrustworthy” news.
“Because digital advertising is now one of the essential sources of revenue for newspapers, the review will analyse how that supply chain operates. It will consider whether the creators of content are getting their fair share of advertisement revenue,” she said.
The review, details of which are yet to be announced, will recommend whether the newspaper industry or government- led solutions would help improve the sustainability of the sector for the future.
“A free press is one of the foundations on which our democracy is built and it must be preserved,” May said.
Many of Britain’s national newspapers have seen sharp declines in their print circulation in recent years, as more and more readers access news online.
‘The Independent’ newspaper closed its print edition in 2016 to become online-only, while ‘The Guardian’ recently reduced its size to a tabloid format as part of a move to cut losses.