Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered at on 13 May 2024.

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Photo of Neil Hudson Neil Hudson Conservative, Penrith and The Border

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support local journalism.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

The Government is committed to supporting local and regional newspapers and other news outlets as vital pillars of communities and local democracy. They play an essential role in holding power to account, keeping the public informed of local issues and providing reliable, high-quality information.

Amid an evolving media landscape and changes in consumer behaviour, we are working to support journalism and local newsrooms to ensure the sustainability of this important industry. We are introducing a new, pro-competition regime for digital markets. The regime, which aims to address the far-reaching power of the biggest tech firms, will help rebalance the relationship between publishers and the online platforms on which they increasingly rely. This will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the press.

Additionally, our support for the sector has included the delivery of a £2 million Future News Fund, the extension of a 2017 business rates relief on local newspaper office space until 2025; the publication of the Online Media Literacy Strategy; and our work through the Mid-Term Review of the BBC Charter to encourage greater collaboration and transparency from the BBC in the local news market and other markets in which it operates. The BBC also supports the sector directly, through the £8m it spends each year on the Local News Partnership, including the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme.

We are also reducing regulatory burdens on commercial radio providers, and strengthening requirements on the provision of local news through the Media Bill to ensure commercial radio continues to provide high quality local journalism.

We continue to consider all possible options in the interests of promoting and sustaining news journalism.

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