The Port Stephens Examiner has gained the support of Paterson MP Meryl Swanson and that of Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland in its Save Our Voices campaign.
The campaign, a joint initiative with this paper's parent company Australian Community Media, Prime Media Group, WIN Network and Southern Cross Austereo, urges reforms to media ownership and control laws they say are obsolete in the digital era and jeopardising the viability of Australia's regional media.
As a proud product of regional media and having worked in broadcasting as a researcher, producer and reporter for television and radio, Ms Swanson said that ensuring the survival of this industry was of vital importance to all in Port Stephens.
"Local media is the lifeblood of any regional community and the past 12 months have more than demonstrated how vital it is we have access to information, especially in times of crisis," Ms Swanson said.
"I won't stand by and watch a once-proud local media industry wind down, the government must step up and ensure media survival with public policy that ensures the industry is fit for the future.
"I will continue to support local media with paid content and continued advocacy to the [communications] minister and I encourage all my constituents to reach out and contact my office to have their support for local media represented to the minister."
Labor's shadow communications minister Ms Rowland said that the Opposition had been calling on the government to modernise the policy and regulatory framework for the digital era.
"Regional media has weathered drought, cyclones, floods, bushfires and digital disruption. The Coalition's seven-year policy neglect left the sector exposed to external shocks, so it has been hit hard by COVID-19 and the recession," Ms Rowland said.
"The communications minister's media support package is yet another case of too little, too late. The minister dragged his heels to announce the Public Interest News Gathering Fund - a fund $95 million less than what the ACCC said was needed a year earlier.
"This recession offers a chance to reshape the nation, but we could miss it if the government does not get the policy settings right."
More on the Save Our Voices campaign
- Rivals unite to protect local news
- No political commitments to regional media campaign
- Save Our Voices: We hear you, says regional communications minister
- How Ray Martin is helping regional media fight for survival
- Ray Martin: Why I'm fighting for local media
- Our local voices matter: Lambie
- Labor leader speaks up for regional media