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Government warned ‘time is running out’ for hyperlocals

Emma Meese 1The hyperlocal news trade body has warned “time is running out” for its members after launching a fresh bid for support for its sector from the government.

The Independent Community News Network is calling for intervention to help its member titles, after a study found 95pc had received no support from Westminster during the coronavirus crisis.

The ICNN has set up an online template with the Public Interest News Foundation to allow supporters to write to their local MP asking for them to press the government on the issue.

It calls for a “bespoke funding agreement” to be set up to support local independent news providers.

ICNN director Emma Meese, pictured, said: “Whenever the government have been approached by anyone on this subject they are quick to say they are in discussions with us at ICNN, however they do not add that those discussions have not led to any action.

“Time is running out and we cannot continue to see one part of the industry funded at the expense of the independent sector.

“Without urgent action we face the very real risk of losing all plurality of voice in the UK and creating hundreds more news deserts than we already have which would be a tragedy for democracy and communities.

“This is not about an us and them with other publishers, it’s about fairness and everyone getting equal support from the government.”

HTFP has approached the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport for a comment.

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