Newswire AAP may be in financial trouble once again after almost collapsing last February, as Antony Catalono of Australian Community Media (ACM) reportedly reconsiders his contract with them.
Catalano told the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday that the AAP is “doomed”, and that ACM would consider all options to “make a decision that is best for [it].”
The ACM is one of the AAP’s core customers and currently pays them for stories and pictures on topics such as sports, courts and politics.
A few weeks ago, the six month non-compete period preventing News Corp Australia from accessing AAP’s clients ended. According to the Sydney Morning Herland, though, at this stage News Corp has not pursued any of these prospective clients.
Ninety percent of the AAP’s shares were held by News Corp and Nine, who removed their backing last year. It was announced in March 2020 that the AAP would close, before it was saved in June 2020 by a consortium of philanthropists and investors.
At the time, the group said in a statement that their purchase reflected a “desire to protect media diversity in Australia through ensuring the long-term sustainability of the AAP newswire.”
Scott Morrison and Communications Ministers Paul Fletcher announced a grant of $5 million for the AAP last year. Currently, the AAP is trying to sign fresh deals with media companies, as well as asking the government for an annual payment to increase funding.
In January, the newswire appeared in front of a Senate committee hearing to ask for annual government funding. Labour and the Greens have recommended that the government create a Public Interest News Gathering Trust, which would permanently support the AAP.
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