Federal communications minister Paul Fletcher has said the government recognises the “important role” the AAP plays in creating media diversity, suggesting the coalition will consider its plea for financial backing.
Last month the sale of AAP completed, ending 85 years of ownership by Australia’s major publishing groups, with the AAP name and brand being retained.
However, AAP has now turned to crowdfunding to raise money amid the economic impact of COVID-19 and closure of regional media.
New AAP CEO Emma Cowdroy said the company was also asking for financial support from the government’s $50m Public Interest News Gathering (Ping) fund.
Fletcher said: “The government recognises the important role AAP plays in supporting public-interest journalism in Australia.
Labor has also called on the government to support the new AAP. Shadow communications minister Michelle Rowland said: “This government is failing Australia’s media and its citizens who rely on the fourth estate to hold power to account.
“The fact that the AAP is having to crowdfund demonstrates the sheer incompetence of the Morrison government when it comes to allocating taxpayer-funded grants for the media sector.
“There are serious questions to be answered around how communications minister Paul Fletcher has chosen to allocate $50m in taxpayer funds under the Ping.
“This is a minister who finds an additional $10m for Fox Sports even as the viability of AAP hangs in the balance.”
Former shareholder News Corp has set up NCA NewsWire to provide in-house breaking news to its fleet of papers. Nine now uses its journalists to cover stories once provided by AAP.
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