Continued loss of rural and regional media coverage and media diversity could be turned around by allowing tax free donor support, a sector leader has argued.

Anna Draffin, CEO of the Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI), believes that ongoing contraction of the media sector, particularly outside city areas, could be minimised by introducing a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) category specifically designed for public interest journalism. 

DGR status would mean that tax-deductible donations could be made to eligible non-profit news organisations, giving them a new funding stream and increasing opportunities for grants and philanthropic support. Ms Draffin told Pro Bono News.

A DGR category for public interest journalism could assist community-led responses to gaps in news supply

The PIJI’s latest quarterly survey of the Australian news sector showed the continuing economic impact of COVID-19 with at least 11 mastheads closing as a result of print cost increases driven by global supply chain disruptions.

Ms Draffin said that three years of data shows ongoing market instability that is impacting news supply, plurality and diversity. PIJI has recorded 27 local government areas without local digital or print news – all in rural or remote areas whose low population densities makes them commercially unviable. She said.

Continuing sector volatility could be reduced through growth of non-profit models, servicing geographical markets that are commercially unviable,

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Phil Evans


Director of Rhizomatic. Since 2019, Phil has been the NationBuilder Administrator for ABC Friends.