ON THURSDAY, Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, called for an urgent statement in the House of Commons on Government support for and revival of local printed newspapers. This follows an announcement at the end of January that the Harlow Star would be closing its doors for the last time.
Mr Halfon said: “Last week, the Harlow Star newspaper closed its doors for the last time, meaning that for the first time since 1953 our town does not have a local newspaper. Can we have an urgent statement on the support for and revival of local newspapers? Thousands of elderly people will now be disenfranchised from local news, despite there being an excellent online newspaper called Your Harlow”.
In her response, Andrea Leadsom MP stated: “My right hon. Friend raises an important matter on behalf of his constituents, and I am sure many hon. Members will have a lot of sympathy. High-quality journalism is vital to our democracy, and I am very sorry to hear about the closure of the Harlow Star. He might be aware that the Government have commissioned Dame Frances Cairncross, supported by an expert advisory panel, to conduct an independent review into press sustainability, and we expect the report to be published soon. Once it has been published, the Government will respond in due course.”
Since the Harlow Star announced its closure, Mr Halfon has written to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to make him aware of the closure and to ask what financial support is available for local newspapers.
As well as this, he is beginning work with other local news providers, such as Your Harlow, to ensure the town and surrounding villages can keep up to date with the news.
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