SINN Féin’s Karen Mullan has urged the Economy Minister Diane Dodds to produce a support package for weekly newspapers struggling to survive during the COVID19 pandemic.
Said the Foyle MLA said: “Local newspapers are the lifeblood of most communities and are a vital and trusted source of news for the public at this challenging time.
“Our weekly newspapers across Derry, chronicle the ups and downs of our communities, provide local jobs and training opportunities.
“They are bellwether tenants of our high streets and town centres.
“In the pandemic, their main sources of advertising have dried up, creating the unwelcome possibility of job cuts and a reduction in their news coverage at a time when considered, mature and engaged reporting is needed more than ever.
“I welcome that Finance Minister Conor Murphy has provided newspapers with a four-months rate relief.
“There is now an obligation on Economy Minister Dianne Dodds to also provide financial support to assist newspapers.
“I admire the job newspapers do, in print and online, to cover local and regional government and to hold politicians to account.
“It’s vital that the newspaper industry not be left behind at this critical time.”