NUJ to examine how councils could fund local news

The National Union of Journalists is to investigate ways local authorities could help fund struggling regional and local media titles.

The annual delegates meeting of the NUJ passed a motion on Friday calling on its National Executive Committee to examine how the Local Government Act could be amended to remove barriers that currently prevent local authorities funding independent news organisations.

The motion said any potential funding would be on the understanding that: “such companies would promote or improve the economic or social well-being of their areas.

“The companies would be subject to agreements which would guarantee editorial and political independence, as well as decent pay and conditions for staff.”

The call came as part of a broader move to investigate alternative forms of funding to support newspapers in areas where the local journals have been lost or were in danger of closing.

Michelle Stanistreet, deputy general secretary of the NUJ, told delegates journalists could be assisted to form co-operatives, independent groups could be provided with tax breaks to provide grassroots journalism or partnerships with traditional and none traditional news providers could be established.

The union also committed to lobby for public support for journalism which could, subject to certain public service obligations, be offered on the basis that improves local plurality.

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