Appearing on the BBC’s Daily Politics show, Ashley said politicians who “underestimate” the power of the local media in an election year could face “disastrous consequences”.
He also told host Jo Coburn that people needed to “wake up to the realities of the shift to this digital world” when taken to task on the number of journalists’ posts cut by the company.
During a ‘soap box’ segment for the show, filmed at JP’s offices, Ashley told viewers that around “one in three” British people were reached by one of the company’s titles.
Quizzed by Jo on whether this was actually the case, he responded: “The audiences are there. I think it’s the fact that maybe national politicians, government, maybe don’t put as much emphasis on to reaching the audience through local media.”
During his appearance, he also called for the BBC and regional press to have a more “symbiotic” relationship and claimed the industry could help the corporation reach a “far greater audience”.
The full show can be viewed here.