Fianna Fáil proposes state funding for newspapers

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Fianna Fáil has today launched a wide range of proposals to secure the future of Irish print journalism.

The proposals include broadening the role of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to include a Print Journalism Unit which could disperse grant aid to support newspapers.

The party’s Communications Spokesperson, Timmy Dooley said that quality journalism is currently jeopardized by a significant downturn in revenues for news publishers in Ireland.

National newspaper circulation is down 50% over the past 10 years, and down 35% for local newspapers.

“We believe that a single Government Minister must have oversight over all aspects of the Irish media, and in the next Fianna Fáil government, authority over print, digital and broadcast media will be vested in a single Department.

“Many print newspapers see their work being shared widely and freely on digital platforms. They receive no payment for this content, and this needs fixing. Newspaper journalists research and fact check – this costs money. Those reusing their work must pay for that, otherwise we risk seeing newspapers go bust,” he said.

Fianna Fáil believe the proposals will secure the future of quality print journalism in the country for generations to come.

The party also pointed to other EU nations already investing in print journalism.

In France €262 million was made available to newspapers in direct support for distribution, home delivery and modernization and innovation in 2016.

“If we want independent quality journalism, we need to invest. Out citizens deserve open, honest and compelling journalism, and Fianna Fáil will protect its future,” Deputy Dooley added.

However, Fine Gael TD Noel Rock said all Irish journalism should be supported with no preferential treatment for printed publications.

He said: “The desire to support quality journalism is laudable, but to only support print journalism is bizarre.”

A recent report shows more people rely on the online version of newspapers as their main source of news than the print editions.