Journalism: Self-employed

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered am ar 7 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made an assessment of the (a) long-term viability and (b) economic sustainability of freelance journalism.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

Journalists, including freelancers, play an important role in holding power to account and keeping the public informed by providing reliable, high-quality information.

As the independent Cairncross Review into the future of journalism identified, society is increasingly moving online and news publishers are facing significant challenges in transitioning to sustainable digital business models, particularly at local level - and this presents challenges both for publishers and the freelancers that they contract.

The Government is taking action to support journalists. We set up the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists (NCSJ) in 2020, bringing together government, representatives bodies for journalists, police and prosecuting authorities as well as civil society groups to improve ways journalists, especially freelancers, can be supported and given the resources and training they need and set this our in the 2021 National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists.

We are also supporting the news publishers that employ or contract journalists. To date, this support has included the introduction of the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill, which among many other things will help to rebalance the relationship between publishers and platforms; the delivery of a £2 million Future News Fund, designed to invest in new technological prototypes, start-ups and innovative business models to explore new ways of sustaining the industry in this changing landscape; the zero rating of VAT on e-newspapers; the extension of a 2017 business rates relief on local newspaper office space until 2025; We continue to consider all possible options in the interests of promoting and sustaining news journalism.

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