The union representing journalists has condemned APN News & Media’s decision to seek a buyer for its regional media division.
Announced today in the company’s half yearly results, APN News & Media is looking to offload the struggling Australian Regional Media after a 7% slide in profit.
ARM consists of 12 daily newspapers, including The Gladstone Observer and Gympie Times, more than 60 community and non-weekly publications and 30 regional news websites.
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) is concerned that APN fails to appreciate the importance of the regional mastheads to local communities.
MEAA CEO Paul Murphy said in a statement: “The APN publications that serve the people of regional Queensland and New South Wales are a vital source of local news and information. They have historic and crucial links to their communities, are an avenue for local stories to be told and local voices to be heard. They provide an essential public service.
“But over several years, APN management has slashed away at these mastheads, diluting them of quality local content and starving them of the crucial resources needed to do their job.
“When your only strategy is to cut and cut, something has to give. In the end, it is the local communities that suffer.”
MEAA is seeking an urgent meeting with APN management to ensure that any sale process is accompanied by a guarantee that employee service and all entitlements are acknowledged and transferred under the Fair Work Act.