OPINION

Why we must join the fight to save our media

Why we must join the fight to save our media

The present Save Our Voices campaign - which advocates for the retention and promotion of local media outlets and is spearheaded by Ray Martin - is one of vital importance to every person who lives in regional and rural Australia.

In recent years, very sadly and to the detriment of communities, we have witnessed the closure of so many local newspapers and the consolidation of local radio and television stations.

Others have, so far, survived but not without the loss of many dedicated and talented journalists.

The former leader of the National Party, Barnaby Joyce, a great fighter for regional and rural Australia, has decried the sad decline of local media.

He recently said that the future of democracy in Australia would be bleak without regional media. How true.

Joyce said the loss of local media would result in people being left to get their news from social media platforms.

That would be equivalent, to use Barnaby's fine use of the English language, to "getting your news on the back of a lavatory wall in a pub".

Local newspapers and other media outlets play a very important part in the life of a community.

Local media keeps us in touch with what is going on in our community and keeps us in touch with each other.

But our local newspapers, radio and television also play a significant role in "keeping the bastards honest".

It is our journalists, with their skill and commitment, who hold our politicians, government departments and local councils to account for their actions.

Who better to expose corrupt conduct and the potential for corrupt conduct in a local community than local journalists?

In times of emergencies, such as bushfires and floods, it is our local media that we look to for up-to-date information and guidance.

Who knows and has a feel for the local area better than our own journalists?

Centralisation of media outlets significantly disadvantages local communities.

This is why Save Our Voices deserves our utmost attention.

This is our last throw of the dice to protect and retain our local media outlets.

As part of the campaign, we are being urged to approach our federal members of parliament.

I hope that they will listen and take action to protect the interests of our regional communities.

Bill Walsh is a regional barrister with chambers in Orange, New South Wales.