Statement - Importance of Local Media

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28 August 2015

Our media plays a vital role in our democratic society by informing the public of what is happening and by encouraging public debate.

It’s vital that regional cities like Newcastle have a robust local media presence to share our local stories and our local voice, but also to encourage participation in democracy and uncover important issues through expert investigative journalism. 

Print press, radio and local television all play an important role in keeping a healthy democracy alive.

Yesterday’s announcement that proposes 69 jobs be cut from Fairfax newspapers across Newcastle and the Hunter is devastating news for the workers affected and more broadly for our community.

We have seen the strength of Newcastle journalism across media, not only for important local issues, but also for issues of national significance.

Our local award-winning journalists and photographers have broken of some of the most important stories in Newcastle over many decades and any dilution of their influence is a loss to our region.

It’s unlikely that we would have the very important Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse without local journalist Joanne McCarthy and the support of the Newcastle Herald.

We’ve already seen a third of the Newcastle ABC radio workforce lost which has seen a reduction in local stories being told.

I hope that Fairfax management and the Newcastle Herald workforce can come to an agreement over the coming weeks that protects quality journalism in Newcastle and jobs of journalists to help to support a healthy, vociferous democratic society.

Most importantly my thoughts are with the workers and their families who are affected by the proposed job cuts.

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Authorised by Sharon Claydon MP, 427 Hunter Street Newcastle