MP stresses importance of trusted local newspapers in Parliament… like his own Warrington Guardian

A Warrington MP has championed trusted local journalism — like Newsquest’s Warrington Guardian — as an important way of maintaining democracy.

Andy Carter, MP for Warrington South, questioned the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) minister on the steps Government is taking to protect local journalism as the industry moves further online.

He even received praise for the Newsquest-owned Warrington Guardian from a DCMS minister in response.

MP Andy Carter in Parliament

This comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) called on the Government to introduce a legally binding ‘code of conduct’ for digital giants such as Google and Facebook, in an effort to rein in their market dominance.

It urged the Government to grant the Digital Markets Unit (DMU), co-ordinating with regulators including Ofcom, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to oversee tech giants’ conduct.

The proposed new rules mean digital competitors, such as online local journalism, could face a level playing field.

Addressing the DCMS minister in Parliament on Thursday, Andy Carter said: “Local journalism is funded on the whole by local advertising, be that in local newspapers or local radio, and the structural impact of the changes in our local economies — the move online — is having a significant impact on the way that local independent users produce.

“I wonder if she could tell us more details about the steps Government is taking to protect local journalism which is so important to maintaining local democracy?”

Caroline Dinenage, minister for DCMS, replied: “I know my honourable friend is a great champion for local media and newspapers in his area.

“We do absolutely recognise the vital role that they play in supporting communities, but also providing reliable information like his own Warrington Guardian.

“We strongly welcome the recommendation in the CMA report and the setting up of a Digital Markets Unit within CMA to ensure fairness in regulating digital platforms.”

It urged the Government to grant the Digital Markets Unit (DMU), co-ordinating with regulators including Ofcom, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to oversee tech giants’ conduct.

The proposed new rules mean digital competitors, such as online local journalism, could face a level playing field.

Conservative MP Mr Carter, who was appointed as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Media earlier this year, has previously shown support for local media after backing an appeal by the News Media Association to help media organisations during the coronavirus pandemic.

He told the Warrington Guardian: “Strong local communities benefit from a vibrant local media, they hold key decision-makers to account, share vital news and information and set an agenda for growth and future optimism.

“We need trusted news more than ever and local media recruit, train and develop journalists who play a critical role in future society.”

Mr Carter, a former managing director of Smooth Radio, added: “Local newspapers, radio and news sites are an important platform for businesses to connect with their customers, so my plea to advertisers is please continue to support your local media — remind your customers about the role you’re playing in supporting your local community so that they know about your efforts when we return to better times.”

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