A statement from Mr Smith, Crawley MP, says: “A free and vibrant press is a crucial part of any healthy democracy and local newspapers such as the Crawley Observer [sister paper to this title] are important and valued news sources for people in Crawley.
“While the internet has created fantastic opportunities for new platforms and new voices to emerge, it has also raised some real questions about the future of the press.
The Prime Minister has announced an external review, led by a panel of experts, to examine the range of challenges that the press industry is facing. It will explore ways of ensuring our free press operates on a level playing field in the face of rapidly developing technology.
This follows a vote in the House of Lords for stringent conditions to be inflicted on the press which could lead to smaller, local papers being put out of business. The Government will oppose this attempt to curtail press freedoms whilst working to ensure the sustainability of local press.
Mr Smith added: “It’s a difficult time for local newspapers but they’re a lifeblood of our communities.
“Local papers help to shine a light on important local issues in our communities, courtrooms and local council chambers. Local media holds local power to account and uncovers injustices.
“I welcome this Government review to ensure our local newspapers like the Crawley Observer can have a viable future in the digital age.”