MEDIA STATEMENT: LOCAL IRELAND WELCOMES PUBLICATION OF FUTURE OF MEDIA COMMISSION REPORT
Local Ireland, the association representing 32 paid-for weekly newspapers around the country, has welcomed today’s publication of the long-awaited Future of Media Commission Report.
President of Local Ireland Declan McGuire said: “There are several encouraging aspects to the report, including the recognition of local news publishers as public service content providers and the recommendation that a new Media Fund would be open to print and online publishers to support skills-training, digital transformation, coverage of cultural issues and diversity.
“Quality, professional local journalism is facing serious economic challenges that have been exacerbated by the seismic shift in advertising to the major tech platforms and we need Government support to continue to deliver to our readers.
“We welcome the recommendation that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment should ensure there is fair dealing between publishers and the tech platforms in light of Article 15 of the EU Copyright Directive, which recognizes the value of our content.
“We have waited almost year for the report to be published, so there should be minimum delay in implementing the Commission’s recommendations.”
Executive Director of Local Ireland Bob Hughes said: “Implementation will be a key issue, but the Government has an opportunity to offer immediate support for news and digital publishers by abolishing the current 9% VAT rate and bringing it down to 0% in this September’s budget.
“The EU Finance Ministers’ agreement to reform the VAT régime came into effect earlier this year and this now allows the Government to cut VAT for publishers to zero per cent to bring Ireland in line with the UK and progressive European countries.
“This would end the tax on knowledge and information for an industry that plays a vital role in our democracy. It would also allow for greater investment in journalism and digital transformation and would help preserve jobs in a sector that has seen its workforce reduced by half over the last 20 years.”
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