What local media? Ask your MP...

EVERYONE needs local papers, TV and radio to keep them informed about what's going on in their area and, for one example, to keep the council honest. But local papers haven't been making as much profit as the bean-counters demand.

Their owners are now lobbying for government handouts - while they continue to reward shareholders and sack journalists, close titles and merge offices. In every newsroom, across all sectors, cuts are undermining quality journalism.

The NUJ is be lobbying MPs over the future of local media on Wednesday 25 March in, naturally, Parliament. The union asks you to join in: gather at at 2pm to meet with MPs at 3:30.

If aid is given, the union says, it must come with conditions: caps on directors' pay and management bonuses, minimum investment in editorial resources and original content and maintaining staffing ratios, titles, editors and pagination.

Local newspapers in parts of joined-up Europe do get government support - in the context of all journalists, including staff, having full authors' rights, including the right to defend the integrity of their copy. But several countries take it back in Value Added Tax on newspapers.

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