Former Culture minister attacks Facebook and Google for ‘destroying’ local journalism

Written by Nicholas Mairs on 17 October 2017 in News

John Whittingdale, who served in the role under David Cameron’s government, will say Facebook and Google are “bad for democracy”

Google: Picture credit - PA

Facebook and Google are “bad for democracy” and threaten the future of local media by “taking all their content and reproducing it for free”, a former Culture Secretary is set to say.

John Whittingdale, who served in the role under David Cameron’s government, will call on tech giants to subsidise smaller sites and newspapers to help them retain traditional practises like reporting from courts and council meetings.

The proposals are similar to those brought in under his time in Cabinet, where the Government forced the BBC to pay for 150 local journalists.

The broadcaster vowed to invest £8m per year as part of an arrangement to allow for greater coverage of town halls, courts and regional assemblies, agreed with the News Media Association.

Whittingdale will make his plea to big firms as part of a lecture on “The Future of the Press” organised by the House of Commons later today.

The Sun reports that the former minister will hit out at the “under-reporting of courts and council chambers” as the number of regional media outlets continues to plummet.

Meanwhile he will accuse major websites of killing local papers by “taking all their content and reproducing it for free” online.

He will also insist global firms “need to give something back” and that the speedy decline of regional press - exacerbated by them - could lead to a threat to democracy.

Tags

Categories

Related Articles

Robots, connectivity and digital skills: progress on digital in Scotland
21 June 2017

With technology now permeating all aspects of life, there is a need for leadership as the public sector pushes to keep up with the pace of change

Technology could replace 250,000 public sector workers, according to Reform think tank
6 February 2017

Websites and “chatbots” could replace a quarter of a million public sector workers over the next 15 years, according to a new report from think tank Reform

SNP MP says UK Government’s digital strategy will leave rural communities behind
28 November 2016

SNP Digital Economy spokesperson Calum Kerr said rural areas will be left with broadband speeds that will be “obsolete within a decade”

Tech 100: ‘The last thing anyone working on social security wants to do is to become the next CAP Futures’
14 November 2016

In the first of two parts, Scottish Government director general for communities, Sarah Davidson, discusses efforts to rebuild a reputation for delivering big IT projects 

Share this page