The viability of local newspapers, including the one that you are reading now, is being challenged by an unnecessary tariff on the import newsprint from Canada — the paper used to print this newspaper and others across the country.

Simply put, the country’s newspapers cannot absorb the additional financial burden that this tax — based on a dubious complaint from a single paper mill — is sure to create.

The new import tax begins Tuesday and will add almost 10 percent to the cost of newsprint for GateHouse Arkansas, which publishes the Times Record in addition to five other daily newspapers in the state (including the Pine Bluff Commercial, the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, Daily Siftings Herald in Arkadelphia, the Stuttgart Daily Leader and the Hope Star). GateHouse Arkansas also publishes 17 weeklies, including the Press-Argus Courier, Paris Express, Booneville Democrat, Charleston Express and Greenwood Democrat in our area.

The additional cost for newsprint will add up to millions of dollars for the company’s operations. The two biggest costs in a newspaper operation are people and paper. Newspapers spends millions of dollars a year on paper, and an increase of almost 10 percent amounts to hundreds of thousands more in production costs.

If fully implemented, the resulting hardship could lead to the loss of thousands of jobs in the newspaper industry.

We are at an important juncture right now, and our role of getting real news to you on a daily basis matters more than ever.

“We are stunned that a single U.S. mill in Longview, Wash., has been able to manipulate the trade laws to their gain, while potentially wreaking financial havoc on newspapers and other commercial publishers across the country,” the News Media Alliance says in a statement released Wednesday.

“This decision and its associated duties likely will lead to job losses in U.S. publishing, commercial printing and paper industries,” says the Alliance, which represents more than 2,000 U.S. news organizations.

A credible news source that has a vested interest in community-based news and information is the bedrock to our principles as a free nation.

Arkansas is home to many local newspapers and related websites — many of which provide the only meaningful news coverage in small communities. We live here and work here and care about this place we call home.

We are local businesses. We are you.

Readers rely on newspapers to provide credible information about what matters most to them — news about local people, local government, local happenings, local businesses and important public notices that can affect a community.

Newspapers and newspaper associations are uniting against newsprint tariffs. This is not only a print industry concern, but it also could ultimately affect other business segments in the U.S. that rely on paper products.

Please help us protect the future of newspapers by contacting the Department of Commerce, Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. ((479) 573-0189 or (202) 224-4843;; Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. ((870) 864-8582 or (202) 224-2353;; or Rep. Steve Womack, R-3rd District, ((479) 424-1146 or (202) 225-4301; and letting them know that you oppose the proposed newsprint trade tariff.

A free press is more important than ever, and newspapers have always been at the forefront of serving our communities. We remain steadfast in our commitment to doing so, and we could use your help to ensure that we can continue delivering papers to you.