‘Damaging to Wales’ democracy’: Drakeford concern over Welsh media cuts

First Minister Mark Drakeford AM. Mark Hawkins / Alamy Stock Photo. Right, yesterday’s Western Mail newspaper.

The First Minister has expressed concern about Wales’ news media after two companies that own large portions of Wales’ newspapers and news sites announced significant jobs cuts.

He said that the weakening of the media would be damaging to Welsh democracy and urged companies to rethink planned redundancies.

Reach Plc announced yesterday that they are to cut 550 jobs, 12% of their workforce, because of falling income amid reduced demand for advertising in its titles.

The company formerly known as Trinity Mirror owns the Western Mail, Daily Post, South Wales Echo, South Wales Evening Post and other local newspapers.

Last week newspaper group Newsquest also announced a large round of job cuts, with 25 posts to be lost in Wales.

Its titles in Wales include the Western Telegraph, South Wales Argus, South Wales Guardian, The Leader, Tivyside Advertiser and Pembrokeshire Farmer.

 

‘Concerned’

Mark Drakeford said that the Welsh media had played a “crucial” role in keeping people informed during the Covid-19 crisis.

“A democracy needs a strong media, not only to hold elected representatives to account, but to inform people about what their democratically-elected institutions are doing on their behalf,” he said.

“During the Coronavirus pandemic, the media in Wales have played a crucial role in doing just that.

“That’s why I am concerned several media groups have recently announced plans to cut jobs. Any further cuts to the media in Wales will be damaging to Welsh democracy.

“The Welsh Government urges those groups to rethink their plans.”

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