Watch: Opposition proposes fund for media

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Partit Nazzjonalista has put forward a set of proposals aimed at protecting journalists’ jobs and sustain media houses.

In a press conference addressed by Nationalist MPs Therese Comodini Cachia, Karl Gouder and David Thake, the Opposition proposed the setting up of a fund to financially support online news portals covering Covid-19 crisis.

Addressing the press conference, Comodini Cachia stressed on the importance of having media houses as partners to address misinformation. To this end, the Opposition proposed the funding of projects undertaken by online news portal that address public awareness on covid-19, the subsidization of an inter-newsroom fact-checking team which is editorially independent and is aimed at assisting all media houses and journalists, the establishment of a message information system with Covid-19 updates where people can register to receive information, giving incentives to online influences and artists to promote the correct information.

Moreover, Partit Nazzjonalista proposed the launch of educational videos aimed at school children and youths in a bid to educate them on how to identify fake news and misinformation related to Covid-19. Such videos would need to be age appropriate.

MP David Thake referred to a request made by six media houses to consider their request on tax exemptions or reductions. Thake said that the government should sustain the salaries of journalists especially at a time when news rooms are primarily focused on Covid-19. He also mentioned the need to make grants available for continuing to digitize online news portals or tax deductions for investments carried out in online digital infrastructure by the media houses.

MP Karl Gouder spoke about the need to establish a direct channel of communication between the authorities and the meda houses to serve as a focal point of references for journalists. He also suggested the financing of a strong objective non-partisan media campaign on Covid-19 which would see all online news portals involved.

Fielding questions from he media, Comodini Cachia said that the government had managed to make available €4.5 million in funds to just one company, in reference to Vistajet. The MP said that the government should find the money to help the fourth pillar and stop at financing it.

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