After an announcement by Reach plc about a potential deal to buy parts of JPI Media, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) called the move “alarming” and warned of the potential impact on journalists and media plurality.
Reach plc is the former Trinity Mirror and owns The Mirror, Express and Star as well as the website Edinburgh Live.
Notwithstanding earlier claims to the contrary, the CEO of JPI Media which includes The Scotsman and The Edinburgh Evening News confirmed to journalists in the middle of last month that the titles were up for sale.
JPIMedia was formed after a pre-pack deal involving the former Johnston Press bondholders which reduced the overall debt by £135 million.
An NUJ spokesperson said: “If parts of JPI Media are sold to Reach there will be an adverse impact on the market and those employed within it. A takeover of this kind would limit the scope for future jobs in the entire sector.
“Any deal that includes JPI Media’s flagship regional titles would lead to the market being dominated by just two companies – Reach and Newsquest. Both organisations have been relentless in reducing original content and the provision of local professional journalism.
“The union is concerned that decisions on editorial policy and news gathering and practice will be concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people and so we are calling on parliamentarians to investigate the lack of media plurality in Britain.
“The NUJ has been warning for years about the trend towards growing media monopolies and the reducing number of companies that own all newspaper titles and their associated websites. It has a profoundly damaging impact on public debate and democracy.
“This latest move is alarming; the NUJ is calling for meaningful engagement with the company and is seeking specific guarantees on realistic, sustainable staffing levels and job security.”