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ScoMo hands AAP $ 5 MILLION after troubled news service resorted to crowdfunding to keep it afloat

ScoMo hands AAP $ 5 MILLION after troubled news service resorted to crowdfunding to keep it afloat

  • Minister of Communications Paul Fletcher announced the subsidy on Friday
  • The additional $ 5 million increases the government investment in the fund to $ 55 million
  • AAP’s Jonty Low and Emma Cowdroy were delighted to announce the funding

The Morrison government has given Australian Associated Press a $ 5 million lifeline from a public interest news gathering fund.

Communications Secretary Paul Fletcher announced the grant Friday, praising the independent news channel’s commitment to accurate, fact-based journalism.

“The AAP Newswire provides services to more than 250 regional news mastheads across Australia, with public interest content on national, state and regional news,” he said.

This allows regional mastheads to focus on local news stories that are important to their communities.

“Importantly, AAP also provides regional stories for national distribution, so regional issues and voices are heard across the country.”

Communications Secretary Paul Fletcher (pictured) announced the grant Friday, commending the independent news channel's commitment to accurate, fact-based journalism

Communications Secretary Paul Fletcher (pictured) announced the grant Friday, commending the independent news channel’s commitment to accurate, fact-based journalism

The additional $ 5 million for AAP increases the government investment in the fund to $ 55 million.

It has provided 93 grants to date under the fund, which is expected to eventually distribute funding to 107 regional broadcasters and publishers.

AAP Chairman Jonty Low and CEO Emma Cowdroy welcomed the announcement of the funding.

“Today’s Prime Minister’s announcement is a welcome reinforcement of the role AAP plays in providing an important part of Australia’s democratic infrastructure,” they said in a joint statement.

“AAP provides content to hundreds of newspapers and radio stations, most of which are in regional areas, all of which cannot possibly send journalists to talk about what is happening in our country’s capitals, our courts or our sports fields.

“By supporting AAP, the Prime Minister is supporting an important shelf that supports Australia’s media diversity.”

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has publicly and privately urged the Morrison government to support AAP.

She congratulated the minister, described the treasurer as a champion, and thanked the Nationals frontbencher Darren Chester for his work behind the scenes.

‘Hundreds of people at AAP have a job because of this. That’s big! Hundreds of regional newspapers that rely on AAP content to keep their audience informed – they also stay alive, ‘she said.

AAP Chairman Jonty Low and CEO Emma Cowdroy welcomed the announcement of the funding. Pictured: AAP newsroom in Sydney in March 2020

AAP Chairman Jonty Low and CEO Emma Cowdroy welcomed the announcement of the funding. Pictured: AAP newsroom in Sydney in March 2020

AAP Chairman Jonty Low and CEO Emma Cowdroy welcomed the announcement of the funding. Pictured: AAP newsroom in Sydney in March 2020

“All credit and heartfelt gratitude goes to the Morrison government for seeing the right thing to do regional news and audiences, put on their skates and just go and get it done.”

Earlier this week, Senator Lambie and South Australians Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff wrote a letter to the Prime Minister asking for his support.

The trio said urgent intervention was needed to save AAP and the hundreds of regional publishers who relied on the content.

They believe that funding should be provided annually for three years to ensure AAP stays afloat after the coronavirus economic crisis.

Labor communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland said federal funding for AAP was a no-brainer and should have happened months ago.

“Why did it take more than five months for this government to respond when things were going on?” she said.

AAP was acquired by a group of philanthropists and impact investors in June after News Corp and Nine announced plans to shut it down.

The downsized nonprofit news story is also running a crowdfunding campaign to garner support and has raised nearly $ 120,000 of its $ 500,000 goal so far.

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