Congress rapporteur highlights the importance of local and regional media in the fight against disinformation
“If local democracies are the cornerstone of democratic societies, then local media are the foundation of a healthy, pluralistic media landscape,” said Mélanie Lepoultier (France, ILDG) during the Conference The Pen Is Mightier than the Sword? organised under the Latvian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers in Riga (Latvia).
“Local media hold local authorities accountable for the decisions impacting citizens’ daily lives. They make citizens feel listened to and help strengthen a sense of community,” Congress rapporteur Lepoultier stressed, concerned about the decline of local and regional media across Council of Europe member States.
“Without trustworthy local news, social media become the primary sources of information for many communities, leaving them susceptible to the spread of misinformation,” Ms Lepoultier warned, pointing out that disadvantaged and rural communities are at an increased risk of becoming local news deserts.
She concluded by suggesting ways in which public authorities and media associations can work together to support strong, independent local media, including through funding, training and awareness-raising.
The rapporteur also underlined the importance of the independence and safety of local journalists and expressed support for the Council of Europe Campaign for the Safety of Journalists, launched during the Conference and called for special attention to be paid to local and regional journalists during the campaign.
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