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Dickson Encourages Feedback from the Media Industry on the Impacts of Covid

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has called for media stakeholders to submit evidence to the All-Party Group (APG) on Press Freedom and Media Sustainability. The APG are interested in hearing from stakeholders of all sizes from across the industry and are asking for written evidence about their experience of the pandemic, as well as give their views on the long-term viability of the local media, including how government can help.

The APG on Press Freedom and Media Sustainability, made up of cross-party MLAs, was formed in January 2021. The group aims to tackle concerns about recent increases in threats and harassment targeted at journalists in Northern Ireland, as well as the economic impact that the covid-19 pandemic has had on local media outlets. As such the group wants to work closely with representatives of the local media.

Mr Dickson, a member of the group, said: “With covid restrictions beginning to ease, our attention must now be on the future and how we can best recover. This call for evidence will put us in the best position to ensure the media industry has the support it needs, and that the mechanisms for a swift and sustainable recovery are put in place.”

Guidance for all written evidence

The deadline for written submissions is 16 April 2021.

Submissions should include:

  • who the submission is from and if it is in an organisational or personal capacity

  • the name and size of your organisation if applicable

  • your contact details and whether you are willing to appear at a meeting of the group

Submissions should be in a single Word or PDF document and emailed to the office of the Chair,, with the subject ‘APG Written Evidence Submission – YOUR NAME/ORGANISATION’.

Guiding questions:

Please note that these questions are for guidance only and should be viewed as a starting point for submissions rather than a restriction upon them. You may answer as few or as many as you would like in your response.

1. How has the economic challenge of the pandemic impacted your business?

2. What impact have lockdown restrictions had on your advertising revenue?

3. Has your proportion of government advertising altered during the pandemic?

4. What is the impact on your staffing levels in terms of furloughs and redundancies? /do you anticipate this to further change in the next year?

5. How has the pandemic altered your freelance budget?

6. If you are a freelance journalist, how have you been impacted by the pandemic?

7. What do you see as the key short-, medium- and long-term challenges to the sustainability of media outlets in Northern Ireland?

8. What financial support, if any, have you received from the NI Executive over the past year?

9. What specific elements of your business would benefit most from financial support e.g. digitisation, staff training, premises/rates, distribution and delivery systems?

10. What is your view on how the Executive should interact with the local media

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