Facebook 'should help BBC pay for Local News Partnership'

Simon Austin's picture
by Simon Austin

Former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale wants media giants Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter to help fund a partnership between the regional press and BBC.

The scheme will see an initial network of 150 local democracy reporters recruited across the country. They will be funded by the BBC licence fee, but employed by local press groups which win the contracts.

“I would like [the four companies] to consider joining the scheme that has already been established, the local news partnership, and contributing to that fund,” said Whittingdale, who was addressing the Speaker’s Lecture in London on the subject of ‘The Future of the Press’.

“If they would do so, obviously they would have representation on the management of that fund which would means it was no longer entirely run by the BBC, which I think would be a good thing.

“Like the BBC, it would allow them to be seen not as a destructive force but as companies that are willing to support and work with local media to combat fake news, to sustain professional journalism and to buttress our democracy.”