Regional media must be part of any future discussion and decision by Government as regards the future funding and viability of public service broadcasting and journalism, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Ciarán Cannon, who sits on the Oireachtas Media Committee, said we are at a crux time to ensure our democracy is served and held to account by a healthy and impartial media.
“In any assessment of the future of public service media, as well as ensuring the survival of RTE, we need to look beyond just them.
“We need to acknowledge that our regional and local media, both publishers and broadcasters, also have a crucial role to play in the generation and dissemination of trustworthy news content. We’ve seen examples of that in recent times when our local media became vital sources of accurate information during a pandemic and severe weather events.
“I have also seen numerous examples of our local media fostering community connections over and over again, providing accurate, context-rich information, offering a more nuanced understanding of local issues than any national outlet could.
“Unlike impersonal global news, local media builds a sense of identity and shared responsibility among community members.
“By focusing on regional stories, they contribute to a more comprehensive and reliable news ecosystem. In combating fake news, the authenticity and proximity of local media become powerful tools for promoting truth and accountability.
“Finally, none of this valuable output would be possible without journalists who are committed to their role as truth tellers. They write without fear or favour, while knowing that they are embarking on a pretty precarious career path.
“That’s why the recent decision by Sinn Féin’s Chris Andrews to sue an individual journalist is particularly chilling. The deliberate suppression of a journalist’s voice is a major cause for concern.
“Would Sinn Fein in government seek to suppress criticism of government, particularly one that’s incapable of delivering on every populist pre-election promise?”, Deputy Cannon asked.