Political leaders are calling on the government to support local media to ensure the survival of newspapers and radio stations through the coronavirus crisis.
Along with many businesses, newspapers and radio stations have been impacted by the sudden, sharp blow the crisis has dealt the economy.
Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin has urged the Government to help struggling local newspapers through ad buys, and urged the public to support their local and national titles by buying a copy.
Deputy Howlin said: “I welcome the action by the government to suspend the BAI levy for local radio stations giving some immediate relief in the face of collapsing advertising revenues.
“However assistance and recognition is also needed for local papers during the Covid-19 slowdown. They too are a reliable and trusted source of information for many.
“The Government should look at supports such as extensive advertising in local papers and radio to get the key messages out. This would be an important way to support advertising revenue sustaining people in jobs while also providing the public with essential news. Similiar supports may also be needed for independent national broadcasters and newspapers if this is an extended crisis.
“I would also call on the public to support their local and national newspapers by buying a copy when they can. We all need to be reading reliable information sources.
“There are also great community efforts underway to support elderly people and those at risk in self isolation with deliveries to their homes. Adding a copy of your local paper to those supplies is another way to boost their sales.
“The economic consequences of the coronavirus will impact numerous sectors in our society and when problems are identified we must move quickly to provide support and assistance.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Waterford TD David Culliane, also called on the government to take out local newspaper advertising to support the industry.
Gov Depts can help local newspapers & print media by taking out adverts to disseminate important information. We can counter misinformation by using trusted local publications. It will help boost their revenue at a difficult time. We need to protect local print & broadcast media— David Cullinane TD (@davidcullinane) March 20, 2020
He also Tweeted: "I have contacted Minister Richard Bruton asking that he and other Gov Depts consider taking out adverts in local newspapers - to help financially support them and to assist in disseminating important COVID-19 info. Hoping for a positive outcome."
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