Shire of Northam Supports Regional Media Outlets

Published on Monday, 19 October 2020 at 12:51:12 PM

The Shire of Northam has recently resolved to air its concerns over the future of the media in rural and regional areas.  Council’s concern is reflected in the fact that many small media outlets, such as the Northam’s own Avon Valley Advocate, have struggled to continue printing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and without external assistance from government, they may be forced to close on a permanent basis.

Regional media outlets are an essential service to our communities, providing an invaluable role in covering local events and stories, promoting community cohesion, and ensuring that regional communities are provided with accurate information in uncertain times.  

Shire of Northam President Cr Chris Antonio said the potential loss of print media is a real concern

Our Council is very concerned about the potential loss of our local newspaper, the Avon Valley Advocate, and understands our experience is reflected in many rural and regional communities across Australia.

The Avon Valley Advocate has played a critical role in our region for many, many years as an important source of news, information and community-interest stories – losing it permanently would be a significant loss.

We understand that the media landscape is changing rapidly across the globe, but in Rural and Reginal WA we need a presence and are urging the Federal Government to provide some support and direction on this important matter.

The Shire of Northam notes the previous work done by the Australian Consumer and Competition Council and the Federal Government’s implementation of several ACCC recommendations, including the intention to develop a mandatory code of conduct between media companies and digital platforms. The development of a Federal Government regional media strategy/policy will build on this recommendation, and deliver a sustainable model for future regional media.

The Shire of Northam supports the Our Communities Our Stories campaign and urges the Federal Minister for Communications to commence work on developing a regional media policy.

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