Budget fail: no further support for regional or community media
We were hoping that in last night's Budget the Morrison Government would take vital action to provide ongoing support for the regional and community media outlets that are struggling for survival because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In recent months, we have seen hundreds of regional newspapers, radio and television newsrooms close and about 1000 journalists lose their jobs.
These closures have left a huge gap in the communities these media outlets have served for decades. Thankfully, some plucky new operators have stepped in to fill the void.
But for regional and community media to survive this downturn and continue into the future, it needs ongoing government support.
That's why it was a huge blow that last night's Budget did not include any money to maintain the $50 million Public Interest News Gathering program beyond this financial year.
The PING has been a lifeline for 107 regional broadcasters and publishers. But it cannot be a one-off. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has recommended the PING be an annual, ongoing funding program.
Last night's Budget may have been a missed opportunity, but that only makes it more important that keep up the pressure on the government to support regional media.
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