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20 December 2018

Gove: ‘Digital Invaders’ Have ‘Undermined’ Local Media

Local media has been undermined and eroded by “digital invaders” and action must be taken to ensure that the industry is allowed to flourish and continue ensure that people have a powerful local voice, Michael Gove has said.

Speaking at the Journalists’ Charity’s Scottish Press Lunch 2018, the Environment Secretary said the media’s role in holding power to account was “truly indispensable” and he went on to defend the media’s right to be “savage and vicious, partial and biased.”

Mr Gove spoke about The Press and Journal where he began his career as a journalist and its  closeness to its readers and its communities which gives them a voice.

He added: “The fact that those newspapers have been progressively undermined and see their market model eroded by technology, competition and digital invaders is a source of sadness to me. You can’t turn back technology and nor should you try. But there’s a responsibility to do all we can to keep local media vital and to ensure that people have a voice.

“Another truly indispensable thing that the media does is to hold power accountable. We’ve seen all too many occasions of politicians drunk on arrogance or convinced of their own righteousness and have needed the voice of the media or the investigative power of journalists to bring them back down to earth and to bring our democracy back to health.

“I know sometimes newspapers and commentators can be savage and vicious, partial and biased but so they should be. The only way that our democracy remains healthy is if we have a range of voices contending. If we have different newspapers, different TV channels, different sources which you can turn to and be challenged or to confirm your opinion in order to ensure that our democracy remains vital.

“Journalism is a trade not a profession, it can sometimes seem a bedraggled trade at times, but it’s a noble one because the pursuit of journalism is the pursuit of truth and without truth democracy dies in darkness.”