Paywalls preventing Brits in Europe from accessing reliable news

Published:  6 Sep at 6 PM
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How many UK expat retirees struggling with sinking sterling can’t now afford to follow responsible media outlets due to paywalls, leaving them reliant on the often fake news and biased opinion in the tabloid press?

In these trying times, it’s essential for British expat retirees to keep a very close watch on the day-to-day political shenanigans threatening to end their chosen lifestyles in Europe. It’s not just the unprecedented shambles in parliament, nor even the looming reality of Brexit, it’s also related issues such as the sterling crash and the dread possibility of eventually losing the already inadequate state pension’s triple lock uprates. TV coverage has its uses but, for expats planning to vote should a snap election become a reality, informed opinions as well as registration timelines are an essential part, especially for the formerly politically unaware!

Prior to the referendum itself and subsequently, British expatriates living in EU member states have been blindsided by sparse and conflicting reports on their statuses as well as the effect of Brexit on the home country. Even embassies and consulates have been less than informative on major subjects such as expats’ rights including healthcare, free movement, recognition of qualifications, pension payments and much more, perhaps because even officials were being kept out of the loop as regards hard facts. For expat retirees living in favourite European hubs having moved there to stretch their pensions further, balancing a budget based on the UK state pension has become even more difficult as inflation rises and the value of sterling against the euro collapses.

At the same time, reliable online media outlets they’ve been using for essential, detailed information are turning to paywalls to boost their dwindling income from sales and advertising revenues, thus putting even more strain on expat retirees’ shrinking budgets. Turning to the so-called ‘tabloid press’ isn’t an answer, especially as most use endless adverts to boost their takings, thus making them difficult to access unless a fast internet speed is provided. Kudos is due to the Guardian for rejected a paywall, but many Brit expat retirees may have to think twice before donating as requested.

Possibly the only upside over the past three years has been an increasing and not before time UK expat involvement in Britain’s political scene, especially since Johnson’s recent PM coup. For those with private pensions, £5 a month or so per website may not seem disastrous, but for long-term, state pensioner online readers of the Times, the Telegraph and a number of reliable local online English language newspapers, it all adds up and leaves less to spend on necessities such as food, health insurance, home maintenance, internet and TV access.

Paywalls don’t only affect Britons in the EU attempting to get to grips with the fast-moving crisis in the home country, as inflation is soaring across the vast majority of retiree destinations worldwide and the UK isn’t the only country heading for a crisis. All those affected are aware of the costs involved in producing even an online newspaper, but the present-day situation in the UK needs careful individual scrutiny before any general election vote takes place.
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