Public interest journalism in Australia has been given a fillip with a one-off government commitment of $900,000 to support the Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI) to continue its work in collecting and analysing data about news media production around the country.
This welcome initiative was announced last week by Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland MP, as part of a federal government commitment to support a diverse and sustainable media sector.
The Minister said public interest journalism is essential for informed citizens, consumers and communities.
People need access to accurate and reliable journalism on issues that matter, Ms Rowland said.
The News Media Assistance Program (News MAP) will guide and inform Government support for public interest journalism and media diversity, including with information about the state of the news media landscape across the country.
PIJI is an independent non-profit company which has worked since 2019 to collect and assess meaningful, accurate data on the state of Australia’s news media, a gap previously neglected and overlooked in public decision-making.
PIJI Chief Executive Anna Draffin has welcomed the move, saying that without this type of information and analysis Australia cannot develop effective policy to support what is a key component of a healthy democracy.
ABC Friends also backs calls for a stronger national focus on and support for public interest journalism. It campaigns to defend and promote the vital role of the ABC as a national public media organisation that offers distinctive, high quality programs and services and local content.
Victorian President of ABC Friends, Dr Michael Henry said, “We seek to influence government policies on the ABC to ensure that it is fully funded to fulfill its role as Australia’s premier national public media organisations, as set out in the ABC Charter.”
“It is our role to inform more Australians about the many important issues effecting the ABC and public media generally,” he said.
As a result we are supportive of more funding to conduct research into emerging issues of public media journalism, so we as a community can better understand the environment in which the ABC and public interest journalism needs to thrive.
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