Motion: News Industry
Council Meeting - 13th April 2021
“Whereas this council recognises the importance of trustworthy, relevant, impartial news as an important bulwark of democracy, particularly during a health crisis – something recognised during the pandemic by the designation of journalists as key workers.
Whereas it is important that local news organisations continue to report on the decisions which impact upon the education, health, welfare, and wellbeing of citizens. It is essential for the media to scrutinise and report on what is happening in local communities across Northern Ireland and to hold politicians to account.
At a time when accurate reliable news is more important than ever, this council expresses its alarm that the news industry in Northern Ireland is under unprecedented strain at present, with widescale cuts and redundancies proposed across the UK media industry.
This council expresses its support for recognition that public interest journalism is a public good that should be supported and protected. We extend our support to public service broadcasting in Northern Ireland and the principle of independent oversight, free from government interference.
In order to secure a sustainable future for Northern Ireland's local news media, this council calls on the UK government, Northern Ireland Executive, and from all stakeholders in the media industry to deliver on the following priorities:
- the establishment of a digital information levy so that tech giants pay their way, after years of exploiting editorial content without paying for its creation;
- increased investment in public interest news through arms-length funding mechanisms, with the condition that no public funding is given to any company making redundancies, paying out dividends or resisting workplace collective bargaining; and,
- tax breaks for news subscriptions and support for new media start-ups alongside a widescale media literacy campaign to tackle disinformation and fake news.”
Proposed by: Proposed by Councillor O’Cofaigh and seconded by Councillor McAleer