In headlines now / 27.04.2020

UJF: Covid-19 support first for crisis-hit companies, then to safeguard the media on permanent basis

The Ministry of Transport and Communications is currently investigating how the media, which is facing mounting difficulties due to the Corvid-19 crisis, can be supported. The report is scheduled to be released in the coming days. The UJF considers support for the media to be essential and argues that it should be targeted primarily for crisis-hit companies that have suffered the most from declining advertising revenue. These particularly comprise small media houses that are mainly dependent on such revenue. Emergency support needs to be substantial if it is to be really effective. "If they do not receive emergency aid, we will see them collapse and a dramatic decline of regional media," said UJF president Hanne Aho. Following the provision of emergency aid, there needs to be a swift move to the next stage, to focus on news and content production. “Payroll support, helping newsrooms produce information, will be directly targeted at the of media communications. Journalists need to be kept at work so that they can make the necessary news for the public”, Aho explained. The consumption of news and current affairs information has increased significantly in recent weeks. Following the acute phase of the emergency, there needs to be a permanent support model created in Finland, as in other Nordic countries. This will support democracy by ensuring that there is a wide variety of information available. “This is support for democracy, not business support. This is also the thinking in other Nordic countries,” said Aho. But contrary to its Nordic neighbours there is no such support for the media in Finland. “The media has a duty to provide information to the public. In times of emergency, this duty becomes an imperative.”

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