Katter backs bush papers as a vital public service

State KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has thrown his support behind his hometown’s local paper, saying quality print media publications such as the North West Star served a vital role local communities.

He said traditional news platforms like papers, including the North West Star, must be acknowledged for the role they play in the rapidly-changing news landscape.

He said while social media has its place in news, life and politics, he did not believe it to be a substitute for traditional news platforms and good old-fashioned journalism.

Mr Katter’s comments follow the news recently that Australian Community Media, which are the publishers of the North West Star as well as 159 other regional titles across Australia, has been sold for the second time in six months.

Australian Community Media was initially owned by Fairfax, which last year merged with Nine.

It has now been bought for $115 million by Anthony Catalano, the former CEO of the Domain real estate site, and billionaire Alex Waislitz’s Thorney Investment Group.

Mr Katter said the North West Star, which was founded in 1966 and is published three times a week and online, had a long and proud history in the region.

He said unlike more city-centric areas that were covered by multiple news organisations that regularly competed for ratings and sales, the North West Star delivered a real public service to its readers.

“In the North West we have both the paper and the local ABC, which are both important in keeping our communities connected and informed and also keeping our local leaders accountable and on their toes – even myself at times,” he said.

“While politicians and journalists may jostle now and then, I do very much respect the role journalists play and I have come to learn over the years that out here in the bush, they truly do have a challenging gig while trying to be in multiple places at once and cover huge territory.

“Whatever this new sale means for the company, our region must continue to be served as it is by our paper and of course our ABC well into the future.”

“It would be anarchy out here if we were ever to lose either.”

Mr Katter also said he had great respect for the other paper published in his electorate, The Northern Miner, which is based in Charters Towers and owned by News Corp Australia.

In 2018 the paper, which was first published in 1872, was turned into a once-weekly publication after previously being published twice a week for many years.

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