Media organisations will be helped to weather the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the government has pledged. 

In a brief statement, the government said that it had met with media organisations and informed them that it would be giving them aid, including some form of financial assistance to ensure that “TV and radio stations, newspapers and news portals can continue to operate”. 

The statement did not say what form the aid would take or how much financial assistance would be granted to organisations though details were given to the media owners. 

Media organisations have been severely hit by the economic downturn, with advertising revenues plummeting and newspaper sales limited due to restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

In an editorial earlier this week, Times of Malta argued that it was time to introduce some form of state funding for the media, to be administered by an independent body to avoid government interference. 

Separately, the Nationalist Party has urged the government to set up a media fund to help finance media organisations throughout the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the government needs the media to get its message across during times like these. 

In its statement announcing its aid plans, the government said that it believed media organisations are an “integral part of our country’s democracy” and noted their importance in conveying the public health message to stay indoors during the pandemic. 

The Institute of Maltese Journalists welcomed the news and appealed to the government to specify in detail the assistance to be given.

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