WARRINGTON South MP Andy Carter is backing an appeal aimed at helping media organisations during the coronavirus pandemic.

The News Media Association (NMA) has sent letters to the Government as it aims to get MPs on board amid a worrying period for the industry.

Newsquest, the parent company of the Warrington Guardian, is one of a number of media organisations appealing for support to help local newspapers like the Warrington Guardian.

Scores of MPs from across the political spectrum have already called on the Government to support the news media industry and local newspapers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Conservative Warrington South MP Mr Carter, who has recently been appointed as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Media, is among those backing the NMA.

He said: “Strong local communities benefit from a vibrant local media, they hold key decision-makers to account, share vital news and information and set an agenda for growth and future optimism.

“We need trusted news more than ever and local media recruit, train and develop journalists who play a critical role in future society.”

Mr Carter, a former managing director of Smooth Radio, added: “Local newspapers, radio and news sites are an important platform for businesses to connect with their customers, so my plea to advertisers is please continue to support your local media – remind your customers about the role you’re playing in supporting your local community so that they know about your efforts when we return to better times.”

The NMA has asked the Government to recognise the news media industry’s value to the public and the threat it is currently under by immediately implementing two measures.

It wants a commitment for a significant Government media spend to newspapers to ensure key public information messages are communicated to readers.

Furthermore, it wants the 100 per cent business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses to be extended to news publishers, who are ‘providing vital information to the public and every local community’ throughout the UK.

Labour Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols said: “Falling print sales and advertising revenue are hitting regional, local and independent news outlets very hard – and we have already seen a number of titles on the brink of closure.

“Local journalism plays a vitally important role in upholding our democracy by holding MPs like myself and the local council to account.

“It also gives our local community groups and organisations a voice and a space to celebrate the achievements of people from our borough.

“I'm calling on advertisers to do all they can to continue to support the sector.

“Furthermore, I support the shadow secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport Jo Stevens' call for the Government's public information service to provide much-needed help to the sector through advertising public health information on Covid-19, providing a vital income as well as transmitting information as widely as possible.”