Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has backed calls for positive action to support local newspapers and radio stations during this difficult period.
Carthy commended his party’s Communications spokesperson, David Cullinane, who has proposed a number of initiatives to government aimed at protecting local media through the Coronavirus emergency. One proposal made by Sinn Féin is that Government Departments commission increased advertising in local papers and radio which can both disseminate important information to the public while in turn providing financial support to local media outlets.
Speaking in support of the measures, Deputy Carthy said: “It is at times like this that the true value of local media is recognised. Communities in my own constituency of Cavan, Monaghan and North Meath would be lost were it not for the vital local and regional information being imparted by outlets such as the Northern Standard, Anglo Celt and Northern Sound radio. But, they are facing their own emergency and they must be helped by government.
“Over the last few days our party spokesperson, David Cullinane, has engaged on our behalf directly and constructively with Minister Richard Bruton on solutions needed to support local print and broadcasting media. For my part, I welcome the temporary waiver of the Broadcast Levy and I support the call for greater flexibility in releasing funds under the Sound and Vision Scheme.
“Equally, local print media needs urgent support. A crash in advertising revenue is having a devastating impact and is threatening the viability of local and trusted newspapers. It is in this vein that Sinn Féin have asked Minister Bruton to establish a fund to be used by government Departments to advertise important information and updates on measures to combat Covid-19 in local papers. These can relate to health, employment rights, employer obligations and other general advice to the public.
“This would fulfil a number of purposes – it would help further disseminate accurate information to the public through reliable and trusted local publications, while also providing much needed revenue for local newspapers. This is a serious and precarious situation for all sectors of the economy. We must do all we can to protect the vital services that local broadcast and print media provide.”