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Government Backs Sustainable Public Interest Journalism

Hon Kris Faafoi

Minister for Broadcasting and Media

The Minister for Broadcasting and Media has launched a fund to support public interest journalism to ensure communities across the country are kept informed on issues that affect them and their communities.

“Grassroots public interest journalism, such as community reporting and investigative media enterprises, have been in decline or struggled for support in the past decade or more,” Kris Faafoi said.

“Given its importance, and the Government’s Manifesto commitment to support public interest journalism, we are investing $55 million over the next three years to provide on-going support for public interest journalism to be produced and shared through New Zealand media outlets,” Kris Faafoi, said.

“The fund will ensure this sort of journalism continues to play its vital role in sharing the stories that keep New Zealanders informed and engaged as well as supporting a healthy democracy by holding voices of influence to account.”

“COVID-19 and the lockdowns last year highlighted the important role our media plays in providing up-to-dated, independent and trusted information to the public. We want to ensure that kind of coverage, is supported and developed across all community levels, where media operations have often cutback resources to reduce their costs,” Minister Faafoi said.

NZ On Air will administer the contestable fund, which will be for projects that media outlets are able to show fill a public interest service and would otherwise be at risk or not produced without this fund’s support.

It will be open to all media entities; from large media organisations, through to small, local entities, Māori, Pacific and ethnic media.

The money will be available over three years, with $10 million available in the current 2020/21 financial year, $25 million in 2021/22, and $20 million in 2022/23.

“The key concepts of the fund have been developed alongside independent media experts and work is underway to gain further feedback from across the sector. These insights will help inform the detailed design and delivery of the fund.

“Through the considerable work to date, and with expert contributions from the media sector over coming weeks, this support will ensure New Zealanders continue to have access to a range of trusted information that they need in order to stay safe and to play an informed role in our communities,” Kris Faafoi said.

He said further details on delivery and design should be available in late March.

Applications will open around the end of April.

Kris Faafoi said the funding announced today would build on the media support package at the height of New Zealand’s Covid emergency last year, which provided short-term cash flow relief to media entities which were facing significant declines in advertising revenue as a result of the pandemic and lockdown.

Mr Faafoi said the fund would provide transitional support to media organisations as the sector evolves in a way that ensures the longer term sustainability of New Zealand’s media.

Further information can be found on https://mch.govt.nz/media-sector-support/journalism-fund and https://www.nzonair.govt.nz/funding/#journalism-funding. NZ on Air can also be contacted at journalism@nzonair.govt.nz.

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