CULTURE secretary Jeremy Wright praised Eastern Eye for its “vital role in supporting communities all across the country”.
In a speech to the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Festival in London on Thursday (9), the secretary of state noted the newspaper’s part in uniting communities and for also providing a fresh perspective to publishing.
“Publications like The Voice, Jewish News and the Eastern Eye have played a vital role in supporting communities all across the country,” Wright said.
The PPA is a national body that represents publishers and providers of consumer, customer and business media. Its members include 300 publishing companies, who, combined, publish more than 2,500 consumer, customer and business magazines.
Addressing the annual gathering at Tobacco Dock, the culture and media secretary said: “It is just as important that we make sure the industry as a whole represents the variety and diversity that makes up modern Britain.
“Proper representation is vital to maintaining the trust of different audiences.
“This isn’t just the right thing to do. It makes good business sense.”
He acknowledged the challenges for publishers and said the change in how news was consumed had led to a reduced circulation for local newspapers; also, there are 6,000 fewer journalists today when compared to 10 years ago.
Earlier this year the Cairncross Review published its findings into the future of the UK news industry. Dame Frances Cairncross made recommendations on how to protect a sustainable UK press; these included exploring the possibility of direct funding for local news and new tax reliefs to support public interest journalism.
Wright said, “A lively and sustainable publishing sector is an integral component of a well-informed society. In a world where online disinformation is an increasing concern, fearless and trusted sources of news and information are as important as ever.
“A healthy and diverse media sector is a sign of a healthy democracy. It is in all of our interests to get this right.”
He said his department was looking at a digital platform code of conduct and would work with publishers, and the platforms in order to “rebalance the commercial relationship between publishers and online platforms”.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport is supporting a Creative Careers Programme, that helps 160,000 young people who wish to pursue a career in the creative industry.
“The value of a lively publishing sector can be felt all across the UK,” Wright added.
“Throughout history, our publications have given platforms to those from all walks of life.
“In an era where disinformation and misinformation are posing a grave threat to our democracy and civil society, this is an industry worth fighting for.”