Journalism should be designated as an “essential service” should there be any future restriction of public movement during the Covid-19 pandemic, NewsBrands Ireland has told the Government. The national press representative group wrote to Taoiseach Leo Vardakar saying that in the event of any new measures to stop the spread of the virus, allowances should be made so journalists could go about their work to keep the public informed.
In a letter co-signed by Local Ireland’s Johnny O’Hanlon, NewsBrands Ireland CEO Ann Marie Lenihan called for guarantees that news providers be treated as an essential service, in line with the UK. The British government recently published a list of roles it considers “key workers” in responding to the virus. The list includes doctors, nurses, healthcare support staff, those involved in medical and food supplies and public services such as policing.
Press advertising revenue was down by between 45 and 65 per cent last week.
Meanwhile, Minister for Communications Richard Bruton TD has ordered the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to waive the broadcasting levy which local radio stations pay as part of their licensing for the first six months of the year. The move could save the stations around €1 million. In acknowledging the role that stations play as a trusted source of local information, the minister asked the BAI to financially assess independent radio in Ireland.
Pictured above is Ann Marie Lenihan, chief executive, NewsBrands Ireland
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