Plaid Cymru politicians take lead in defending local newspapers

Plaid Cymru politicians Jonathan Edwards  and Rhodri Glyn Thomas are leading the way in defending local newspapers faced with the potential loss of thousands of pounds in advertising revenue should the Welsh Government get its own way.

Current legislation requires Road Traffic Orders made by local authorities and the Welsh Government to be advertised in local newspapers.  However the Labour Welsh Government has proposed changing this legislation and allow authorities to bypass the requirement to use local newspapers.

Local Plaid Cymru politicians have branded the proposed changes as nothing but a cost cutting measure which, if implemented, would be detrimental to local community reporting.

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“Despite all the rhetoric from the Labour Government, the proposal to end traffic notices in our local newspapers is the same type of cost cutting measures being pursued by the Tories and Lib Dems, with little thought given to the consequences of this terrible proposal.

“Our newspapers are crucial for good community reporting and play a vital role in our society.

“I am in the process of setting up an All Party Parliamentary Group on Media in Wales and have invited members of both the House of Commons and Lords to join.  Our inaugural meeting will take place next month and I am sure the potential removal of traffic order regulations will feature heavily in our initial work.

“The Welsh government should be coming up with ideas to support and promote local newspapers throughout Wales instead of wielding its axe and adding to the demise of the industry”.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM added:

“In its own consultation document, the Welsh Government admits that boycotting our local newspapers would have a negative effect on papers’ revenue streams.

“We’re already seeing the growth of local authorities printing their own publications in an effort to bypass the current legislation.  Sadly such publications are also used as a propaganda agent for the ruling council and don’t have the quality reporting or political balance of our established newspapers.

“If we’re to see the survival of our good quality local newspapers, which are already under extreme financial pressures, we cannot sit back and allow the Labour Welsh government to implement their proposed changes.

“I have this week tabled a Statement of Opinion in the National Assembly calling on the Welsh Government to abandon its attack on local newspapers.  I hope other Assembly Members will support my statement and send a strong message to the Welsh Government that it will have a fight on its hands.”

ENDS

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