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Tech companies accused of ‘stealing’ as local newspapers cease publication

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Politicians from across the spectrum are describing the closure of regional newspapers as a tragedy for Australian journalism.

News Corp on Thursday announced, as a result of coronavirus’ financial impact on the business, nearly all local mastheads across the country will cease print publication and move to digital-only.

A further 19 small regional newspapers will be shuttered entirely.

“This is really tragic, particularly in rural and regional Australia,” shadow agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon told Deborah Knight.

“I’ve lost a dozen [newspapers] here in the Hunter Valley, and with them, of course, goes all the jobs.”

Mr Fitzgibbon says the death of local media is not a problem new to the COVID-19 pandemic, blaming multinational tech companies for stifling advertising revenue.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, Energy Minister Angus Taylor agreed, adamant the government is “coming down hard” on social media networks.

“I don’t have a physical newspaper left in my electorate, at the moment.

“Facebook and Google are stealing our local journalism, and that’s not good enough.”

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