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02 April 2020

Industry Calls On Major Retailers To Maintain Newspaper Supply Levels

Newspapers are providing an essential service to customers during the coronavirus outbreak and major retailers must maintain supply levels so they can continue to be available for customers, the News Media Association board has said in an unprecedented joint letter to major retailers.

In a letter signed by all 12 members of the NMA board, the industry thanked retailers for the work they are doing to support the nation at this difficult time but expressed concern that some retaliers were seeking to decrease volumes.

“Newspapers provide a critical counterpoint to the disinformation about the coronavirus which is swirling online and across social media. Newspapers offer a vital information service for the elderly and vulnerable at a time like this,” the NMA board said.

“News publishers are acutely aware of how much pressure your stores are under and they are doing everything they can to ease that pressure and make sure their newspapers reach you on time and fit in with your new operating arrangements.

“You will know that there is no inherent risk from newsprint. The World Health Organisation has confirmed that the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and therefore the risk of contracting COVID-19 through handling a printed newspaper is infinitesimally small.

“The Government has been very clear on the critical role that newspapers, their journalists and their journalism “play in providing essential information about coronavirus to the public and that it is imperative that they are able to continue to do so.”

“Ministerial statements to Parliament have pointed out that, not only are newspapers ‘the trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role.’

“We therefore hope that you too will recognise the unique service which newspapers provide to the public during the crisis and designate them an essential product in all your stores, maintaining supply levels so that newspapers can continue to be available for your customers.”

The letter was sent to Asda, Co-Op, John Lewis Partnership, Lidl, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer’s, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.