NEWS
17/02/2012 13:13 GMT | Updated 17/02/2012 13:39 GMT

Carla Buzasi, Editor Of The Huffington Post UK: 'Taxbreaks Aren't The Answer' For Ailing Newspapers

Carla Buzasi, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post UK, has said that tax breaks for local newspapers are not the answer to falling sales and revenue.

Appearing on BBC's Newsnight, she argued that the House of Lords' proposal to offer struggling papers tax breaks had "totally forgotten" digital media, and that the Lords' communication committee had not considered news websites.

"They've got to acknowledge that digital is a large part of the media in this country at the moment," she told host Mishal Husain

"It's going to be even bigger going forwards. I don't think tax breaks to local newspapers are the answer."

WATCH LAST NIGHT'S NEWSNIGHT IN FULL HERE

Phil Hall, former editor of News of The World, agreed with Buzasi, saying: "Successful newspapers have to become independent.

"Tax breaks to me immediately begins to link newspapers to government. Independence is important if they are to survive."

However, Buzasi noted that the growth of news sites did not necessarily mean the extinction of print journalism.

"People are buying newspapers, but they are also getting news from websites and they are using the two together.

"I think it would be very sad if we saw the demise of all the newspaper brands that we grew up with, that we love in this country."

Commenting on online journalism, she said: "It's where the media is going, it's the future of it, but lots of these newspapers have digital arms as well that are becoming increasingly important to the future of their businesses."

Phil Hall described the relationship between print journalism and news websites as "symbiotic".

He said: "Lots of newspapers are setting the agenda and then the internet is taking it running with it."

Admitting that "the game is up as we know it", he told Husain that newspapers would have to adapt.

Journalist Joan Smith, appearing alongside Hall and Buzasi, argued that paying for news sites was the answer to ailing media outlets, and that "free content on the internet was not actually free to the people who put it there".

The programme was broadcast on the eve of Rupert Murdoch's arrival in the UK, as question marks hung over the future of The Sun, one of Britain's most popular newspapers.

The phone hacking scandal, which the Guardian broke the week of The Huffington Post's launch in the UK, has rocked the media industry in Britain.

The Leveson Inquiry continues to probe the ethics and practice of the British press, though the media mogul's arrival at The Sun headquarters was dominated by Murdoch's announcement that The Sun on Sunday was to be launched.