IS THERE really a threat to the future of this paper?

There certainly is. And what’s more the threat hangs over every paper both national and local in the country.

Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act threatens to drain the life blood from every paper in the land, wiping away hundreds of years of service to communities.

An explanation of just how grave the threat is can be found in this paper’s report in today’s Review section along with a call for readers to play their part in defeating actions that the press would say are unjust towards our industry.

Readers may say, of course, that this is not their fight and the press simply gets what it deserves. But even if that were true - and for the local press it is certainly not the case - we would contend that to lose your local paper would mean losing not just a local champion but the glue that helps stick our communities together.

We understand that there will be scepticism. We know that there are those who view the press, indeed all forms of media, with a hard gaze. We cannot blame you. The press has not always been the sensible, responsible friend that it should be. Yet the removal of newspapers from the scene - both in print and on-line - would be a disaster for free speech and remove any real hope of holding those in power to account.