Funds have started to flow to 107 regional news outlets across the country as part of the Coalition Government’s $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program, providing much needed support to regional television, newspaper and radio outlets during COVID-19.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the funding will enable news outlets in Manilla and Scone to continue serving their communities by providing reliable news and information.
“I welcome the news that Manilla Express and scone.com.au will receive grants of $10,000 each, which will help keep local jobs and make sure quality public interest journalism continues to be available in the New England,” Mr Joyce said.
“Public interest journalism keeps our communities informed and connected, and it is especially important for people living in regional and remote areas.”
Minister Fletcher said funding under the program will see $20 million for television, $12 million for radio and $18 million for publishing across regional Australia, with the majority of the publishers receiving grants operating as small to medium businesses.
“This funding will support a broad range of activities such as staff wages, training and technology upgrades to allow the successful recipients to keep delivering important news services to their communities,” Minister Fletcher said.
The PING program is just one of the relief measures the Government is providing to support the media industry during COVID-19. Other measures include $50 million for a Temporary Interruption Fund to support local film and television producers to recommence filming, $41 million spectrum tax relief for 12-months for commercial television and radio broadcasters, $5 million for the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund and temporary emergency suspension of content quotas for 2020.
Applications were considered through a demand-driven process, meaning that organisations who satisfied the eligibility criteria, including the production and distribution of public interest journalism in regional Australia, were eligible for funding.