Culture minister Oliver Dowden says news is 'fourth emergency service'

Culture minister Oliver Dowden tells Britain’s 100 biggest brands including Tesco, Sky and Amazon to allow adverts to appear next to coronavirus news stories as he describes news as ‘the fourth emergency service’

  • Culture secretary Oliver Dowden sent letters to companies including Amazon
  • Visits to news sites have spiked recently as people head to trusted news sources
  • But with advertisers blocking their adverts appearing next to ‘coronavirus’, many have been unable to monetise this 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Britain’s top companies have been instructed to allow their adverts to appear next to coronavirus news stories.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has written to major businesses including Tesco, ky and Amazon to urge them to ‘play their part’ in supporting Britain’s news industry, which he described as the country’s ‘fourth emergency service’.

Millions have rushed to trusted news sources during the pandemic, but publishers have been left unable to monetise this as companies stipulate their adverts are not to appear next to a ‘coronavirus’ and ‘covid-19’ story. 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has urged top businesses to allow their adverts to appear next to coronavirus stories in order to support Britain’s ‘fourth emergency service’

The news industry has warned that titles stand to lose £50million during the crisis. Reach has already been forced to furlough staff alongside agency the Press Association. 

‘These are exceptional circumstances and the wide-scale blocking of advertising appearing next to Covid-19 related stories cannot be right at a time when there is a clear public interest in people having access to reliable, trusted news content,’ he wrote.

‘An irreversible decline in news publishing would have far-reaching implications for everyone.

‘I urge you, as a responsible business at this crucial time, to play your part in supporting the news sector by reviewing the guidance and your business’s application of it.’

The minister also encouraged readers to ‘do their bit for democracy’ by buying a newspaper. 

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