Actor Samuel West, novelist Iain Banks and Vogue editor Alex Shulman are among the high profile figures who have lent their support to a growing campaign to save the Observer from the threat of closure.
A dedicated Stand up for the Observer website has been launched to act as a hub for those opposed to the possible closure of the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper.
Guardian Media Group has said that closing The Observer is one of a number of options being considered to curb growing losses for the company. A decision on the future of the paper is expected to be made at the autumn meeting of the Scott Trust, which owns GMG.
Actor Samuel West said: “Leaving aside the obvious (The Observer is authoritative, incisive, funny and stuffed with great writing), we have to ask ourselves at a time like this: what makes a civilised society? Free education, subsidised transport, Post Offices within walking distance, affordable theatre, music and opera and clever left-of-centre broadsheets on a Sunday.”
He adds: “These things make life richer, deeper, better. Their continued existence is too important to be left to the market; the principle is more important than the profit. The bottom line must not be the bottom line, and we look to the Scott Trust to understand that.
“Sunday is a day for recreation, reflection, thought. It’s a day to consider the unorthodox, the challenging, the overlooked. Left-of-centre voices are rare, they don’t always have rich friends and they are arguably more important now than ever before.
“We can’t afford to lose one. The Observer on a Sunday: it’s essential to a liberal democracy.”
Novelist Iain Banks echoed these sentiments saying: “In an increasingly corporatised and homogenised world we can ill afford to lose a newspaper of the stature of the Observer. Britain needs papers which are not owned by right-wing billionaires more now than ever, and that’s why I support the campaign to keep the Observer a vital and vibrant part of our lives.”
And editor of fashion magazine Vouge Alexandra Shulman said: “The Observer is one of the best newspapers in the country, particularly on the arts and contemporary lifestyle. There is an emotional attachment to the Observer which represents the best kind of relationship one can have with a newspaper. Were it to close I would not feel inclined to replace it with any other paper including a Sunday Guardian.”
The three join others, including comedian Rory Bremner, film director Neil LaBute and Booker prize-winning novelist Aravind Adiga, to lend the campaign support by contributing to the Stand up for the Observer website.
Press Gazette, the NUJ and Observer staff are organising a public meeting in London on 21 September from 7pm to protest against proposals to close the paper.
The current venue is the Friends Meeting House on Euston Road. But check this website for developments, because the location may be subject to change if a larger venue is needed.