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    09 December, 2005

    Trinity Mirror update

    The Culture Committee of the National Assembly for Wales is to demand the appearance of Trinity Mirror Chief Executive Sly Bailey in January as it seeks to review Trinity Mirror's role in the Welsh newspaper market following its decision to slash jobs in Wales.

    I also raised the issue in the Assembly again this week having previously tabled a Statement of Opinion supported by all parties condemning the plans:

    Leighton Andrews: Are you aware that the National Union of Journalists has now called a ballot on strike action in relation to these issues? Do you agree that it is absolutely disgraceful that not a word of the widespread all-party protests about this issue has appeared in Trinity Mirror Group newspapers? Do you agree that we want strong independent local newspapers, such as the Rhondda Leader, not a homogenised corporate media without any interest in local issues or local people? Will you welcome the call by the Culture, Welsh Language and Sport Committee for an inquiry into this issue? Above all, do you agree that it would be good to see a Competition Commission inquiry into the Trinity Mirror Group and its role in Wales and the Welsh newspaper industry?

    Andrew Davies: Anything that reduces what is—as I think that everybody would accept—an unsatisfactory position in terms of media coverage in Wales, is to be deplored. I have concerns, as do you, that local newspaper titles will be affected if the action described in the announcement goes ahead. We are aware of the recent decision by a local newspaper in Swansea, the Evening Post, to move the printing from Swansea to Bristol. That has had an impact on the ability of the local paper to respond to immediate news. These are major concerns, at a time when it is said that people are not interested in politics and that civil society is not of major importance, or is of reduced importance, to them. Having a vibrant media in Wales and across the UK is vital in order to address those concerns.

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