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Coronavirus / Carmichael speaks out in support of local press

ISLES MP Alistair Carmichael has called on the governments in Edinburgh and London to support small local news organisations struggling with the impact of coronavirus on their business.

The MP for Orkney and Shetland has spoken in support of the role of local media organisations in reporting the ongoing crisis, and is backing a campaign by the Independent Community News Network (ICNN) that aims to attract more government advertising for the smallest news organisations.

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Shetland News

Based at Cardiff University, ICNN is the voice of over 100 small community news outlets across the country. Shetland News has been a member since 2018.

“We are fortunate in the isles to benefit from a range of local media outlets.  These do an essential job in informing the public and in holding those in power to account,” Carmichael said.

“The importance of their role has rarely been more evident than right now and yet they are facing a significant threat to their survival.

“A large proportion of news revenue comes from local business advertising. That advertising has almost disappeared overnight, and yet the press cannot simply shut up shop during the crisis, for both practical and moral reasons.

“It is noticeable that the governments in Edinburgh and London are spending a lot of money in national newspapers and on broadcast media.

“Local media outlets are generally more trusted as news carriers so it would make sense to concentrate more spending with them.”

The Lib Dem MP added that there is a role for government to ensure that distinctive local press survives and thrives.

“There is also a role for each of us in our communities to support local journalism where we can. A little support can go a long way.”