The National Union of Journalists has called for a public inquiry into the “local media crisis” in the UK as it launched its Local News Matters campaign today.
A petition to Culture Secretary Karen Bradley calling on the minister to examine the decline of local news titles comes as the NUJ claims 300 local newspapers have closed in the past decade.
According to the union, more than half of all parliamentary constituencies do not have a dedicated daily local newspaper.
The NUJ said: “Most local newspapers are owned by big business. Four companies – Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press, Newsquest and Tindle Newspapers – own nearly three-quarters of all local newspapers.
“This market domination has allowed these companies to generate profits and offer executives bumper pay packets while cutting journalists’ jobs and freezing wages.
“The BBC has also been slashing budgets, axing jobs and drawing up plans to shut local BBC offices while at the same time using £8m per year of licence-fee payers’ money to prop up private media companies.
“This situation can’t carry on. Local communities deserve better.”
A week of events is planned as part of the Local News Matters campaign including the launch of a parliamentary research report into “local news provision in the UK and the impact on democracy”.