Island MP Bob Seely today asked the owners of the Isle of Wight County Press to delay selling to media giant Newsquest so an alternative local bid can be put to shareholders.
In a letter to the paper's chief executive Robin Freeman, Bob said he was “far from convinced” the proposed takeover was in the “best interests of the island” and he feared high-quality journalism and the grassroots reporting of island life could be jeopardised by having such a large company at the helm.
“I understand that the intended sale to Newsquest is due to be formalised this week, so I would ask that an immediate consideration is given to my request for a delay,” he explained.
He said the pause would “provide an opportunity for those behind the proposed local bid to fully prepare their plans which, by their own indication, would be a fully-costed commercial proposal based on sound business planning”.
Bob said the County Press was a “unique and cherished part of what our Island has to offer” and it “has played a pivotal role in reporting on – and holding to account – those individuals in public life for more than 130 years”.
He explained he understood local media had to change with the times and he welcomed the local bid's commitment the County Press could continue to thrive in that changing landscape.
A meeting with Newsquest to discuss the paper’s future, if the takeover took place, would also be sought, Bob added.