Appealing to the government in a letter sent earlier today, the Institute of Maltese Journalists has shone a light on the men and women bringing the latest updates to the nation… and those whose workload has been drastically hit as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Government needs to ensure that all workers in the field of journalism, including freelancers, benefit from the new financial measures and that journalism is protected,” IĠM said in a Facebook post shared earlier today.
“When a large portion of workplaces are closed because of a ‘partial shutdown’ ordered by the health authorities, adverts in newspapers and broadcasting is drastically decreasing,” the statement continues. “Above all that, because many people are obeying the orders and recommendations to stay at home, even newspaper sales have gone down.”
“Media houses will see less income, putting the employment or income of our journalists in jeopardy.”
IĠM went on to also make reference to the large number of freelance journalists, photographers and camerapersons who have seen their work being drastically reduced, if not completely obliterated, as no social, sporting or mass events are being organised.
“The journalist’s work is an essential one in a democratic society.“
“Without the work of journalists, the nation cannot stay informed about what’s happening in the country,” IĠM reiterated. “Even the government needs the support and help of journalists to get his message across to his nation.”
“The government announced various measures to help out workers who are being hit badly in these circumstances,” the institute said. “Unfortunately, it’s not clear whether journalists – including freelance photographers who have had their work greatly decreased – will benefit in any way from these measures.”
The post goes on to list a number of European countries which have already taken similar measures
Belgium, France, Finland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Germany and Great Britain, a number of measures have already either been enacted by governments or demanded by journalist unions there.
From an unemployment compensation maximum of €724 per month for freelancers in Finland to the government covering the entire cost of all sick pay during April and May in Sweden, every country has been rolling out its own set of measures to protect its various industries.