Government should ensure that all those working in journalism will be financially assisted – IĠM

Photo by Terje Sollie from Pexels

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Institute of Maltese Journalists (IĠM) has written to Prime Minister Robert Abela and urged him to ensure that the financial aid announced earlier this week will be extended to the journalism and media sector.

In its letter, the Maltese journalism body stressed that the government should ensure that all those who work in the journalism sector including the many freelancers will be benefit from financial assistance.

Since the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Malta, various measures were taken to curb the spread of the virus among the population. Such measures included the closure of educational institutions, restaurants and bars, hotels, among others. On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne announced two new measures which will put individuals aged over 65 and individuals who are considered to be vulnerable under lockdown.

The global pandemic has sparked an economic crisis with states scrabbling to stabilize their markets.

IĠM noted that various European governments were assisting the media sector through financial aid. The institute provided examples of how other governments were helping media houses and freelance journalists during this crisis.

Advertising revenues have been decimated and newspaper sales are plummeting, the IĠM highlighted in its letter due to coronavirus pandemic.

This have affected freelance journalists, videographers, and photojournalists who are no longer commissioned as media houses seek to slash costs. Others, such as those working in the sports sector have found themselves without a job after sporting events were cancelled.

The IĠM highlighted that journalism is essential in a democratic society. The public has a right to know.”Without their work, people are kept informed about what is happening in the country.”

The Opposition earlier proposed the setting up of a special fund to ensure the livelihood of journalists and support companies working in the media sector. Partit Nazzjonalista put forward a set of proposals aimed at protecting journalists’ jobs and financially assist media houses and journalists.

Similarly a group of companies operating in the media and journalism field have written to the Prime Minister urging it safeguard the sector and consider it among those worst hit due to the outbreak.