Sustainability of the press

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written statement – made on 6th February 2018.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The Prime Minister is today announcing that the Government will be establishing an external review, looking into the sustainability of high quality journalism, including the national, regional and local press.

Robust high quality journalism is important for public debate, scrutiny, and ultimately for democratic political discourse. Yet the press currently faces an uncertain future. Print circulations have declined, with readerships moving online, and the shift from print to digital advertising has led to a loss of revenue for the press. The Government is determined to ensure that the UK has a vibrant, independent and plural free press, which is able to provide high quality journalism as one of the cornerstones of our public debate. As per our manifesto, we are committed to making sure content creators are appropriately rewarded for the content they make available online, and ensure there is a sustainable business model for high quality media online. The review will help us deliver on these commitments.

We have already commissioned research to look into the current state of the local and national press markets. The review will bring together experts who will be able to assess the many factors affecting the health of the UK’s news sector. These factors include the impact of the digital advertising supply chain, the role of content and data in the market, click-bait and the role played by the online platforms.

The review will publish a report and a range of recommendations for the industry and Government to consider. The report is expected to be published later this year.

I have published a summary of the scope of this review on GOV.UK. The Terms of Reference, chair and panel will all be announced in the coming months.