Government awards AAP $15M in funding
As the 2021-22 annual budget was announced earlier this month, the federal government committed 15 million dollars’ to the Australian Associated Press (AAP) for the next two years. The decision follows a campaign by the AAP leadership for federal government assistance.
Regional and rural communities rely heavily on the content provided by AAP to hundreds of newspapers, websites, TV, and radio stations.
As Australia’s only independent newswire, the investment is intended to contribute to securing the future of independent journalism in Australia and will continue to support media diversity. AAP were not eligible to receive money from Google and Facebook for use of their content under the recent digital media bargaining laws, the exclusion meant a significant loss in revenue.
AAP CEO Emma Cowdroy said: “In the context of AAP’s exclusion from the Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, this grant will help underpin the AAP newswire on its path to sustainability. The AAP newswire is an essential part of our democratic infrastructure. Supporting the national newswire means supporting the industry as a whole.”
Last September, the government paid a five-million-dollar grant to the AAP from their Public Interest News Gathering fund over concerns that the 85-year-old national newswire would have buckled under financial pressure before the year was out.
It’s estimated that the Australian media industry had suffered approximately 1000 job losses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in severe declines in advertising income.
AAP was expected to close its doors, following Nine’s decision to shut down. A last minute pitch by an alliance of philanthropists and investors saved the day by purchasing the it for $1.
The Australian Associated Press has since become “a not-for-profit operation with support from those who recognise the need to preserve its critical role as a trusted supplier of fact-based news, without commercial or political influence”, their media release reported.
The government’s commitment to supporting independent journalism is vital to sustaining media diversity in Australia, and is a welcome endorsement for the AAP, who thanked the Morrison government for the boost on behalf of their staff and readership.