General Election sees UK media outline five key areas that next government need to prioritise

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will go head to head in the first televised leaders’ debate of the General Election campaign next Tuesday (PA)
-Credit: (Image: PA)


Editors from across the UK have rallied for measures to safeguard and enhance the freedom and sustainability of UK news media - including KentLive, as the News Media Association unveils its manifesto in anticipation of the forthcoming general election.

Unveiled today, the manifesto outlines five crucial policy areas that demand immediate focus from the next government. These include artificial intelligence and intellectual property, press freedom, a new settlement between commercial news publishers and the BBC, fostering media plurality, and recognising the importance of local media to devolution and local growth.

The NMA has urged the government to ensure that publishers have control over the use of their content by large language models and are fairly compensated for its use. Katharine Viner, editor-in chief of the Guardian, said: “Without quality journalism to train and ground large language models, these technologies would struggle to make sense of the world around them.

“A strong copyright framework, transparency around how quality journalism is scraped and used, and a willingness to stand up for the right of investors in intellectual property to receive fair compensation for the use of their work should be at the heart of a balanced approach to AI policy of the next Government.”

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The NMA is also calling for measures to prevent the BBC from distorting the digital news market and crowding out commercial publishers, as well as action to stop the BBC entering the advertising marketplace.

The NMA's manifesto emphasises the importance of ensuring that new legislation does not impinge on press freedom, while also calling for legislative and non-legislative measures to combat strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs).

They also urge that the next government must ensure that regulatory interventions support a plural UK media environment, driving competition, innovation, and investment.

Sarah Lester, editor of Manchester Evening News , said: “The next government has a responsibility to empower regulators that play a key role in bolstering a plural UK press ecosystem. This includes supporting the Digital Markets Unit to move quickly to guarantee a fair value exchange between Big Tech and trusted news publishers.

“The wider public is largely unaware of how much influence Big Tech has on what is served to them to read. It's not an exaggeration to say without action a fundamental part of our democracy is at stake.”

Finally, the success of further devolution and local growth is dependent on supporting local news publishers whose titles sit right at the heart of local life. Owen Meredith, NMA chief executive, said: “The proposals put forward in this manifesto are crucial for safeguarding the sustainable future of independent, trusted UK news media.

“We hope all political parties will commit in their manifestos to support a free and sustainable urge the next government to prioritise these issues and work collaboratively with stakeholders to support media plurality in the UK. A free and sustainable press is essential for upholding democracy and informing the public, and the necessary measures must be taken to ensure its longevity.”

The NMA's manifesto is available for download on its website. For more information, please contact Laura Skerrett at laura@newsmediauk.org.

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