Independent media sector must be supported during COVID-19 outbreak – Flaherty

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Independent media sector must be supported during COVID-19 outbreak – Flaherty

Deputy Joe Flaherty says the independent media sector must be supported during COVID-19 outbreak

Fianna Fáil TD for Longford, Joe Flaherty, has called on the Minister for Communications to consider the financial requirements of both independent radio stations and newspapers.

The Minister for Communications is currently undertaking a review of the radio sector with a view to examining whether further supports are required as a result of the falling revenues due to COVID-19.

Deputy Flaherty said this review must be widened to include newspapers.

He said, “In the past few weeks we have seen numerous newsrooms temporarily lay off staff. The reduction in ad revenue has led to a crisis on a scale never seen before.

“At a time when fake news is spreading almost as fast as the lethal spread of the virus, local newspapers, radio stations, and their journalists are playing a hugely important role in informing their readers and listeners.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way we carry out almost every aspect of our daily lives as we maintain social distancing and many older people self-isolate for their own safety. The importance of independent local media outlets is there for all to see.

“With falling ad revenues and competition with other media sources it is imperative the Government support our local independent radio stations and newspapers during this time,” he concluded.