The Maltese Government disbursed a total of €1.3 million to all media houses employing more than four full-time journalists in Malta throughout the pandemic. TheJournal.mt is informed that all major providers of news service in Malta meeting simple criteria in the guidelines, benefited from the COVID-19 Media Support fund.
How much did individual news outlets receive?
Let’s cut the chase. A lot of questions have been asked as to how much each media outlet was given in cash. Interestingly, even news outlets which benefited from the scheme are asking this question. So we set out to reach some conclusions based on publicly available information.
According to the guidelines provided by Malta Enterprise to all news organisations, TV stations were given up to €45,000 per month, print media providers were given €10,000 each per month; online news portals were given up to €5,000 per month and radio stations were given €3,500 per month. Media which use more than one platform were awarded up to €10,000 per month. The scheme was capped at €200,000 according to what is known as De Minimis assistance.
A simple guesstimate based on the guidelines and duration of the scheme March 2020-March 2021, carried out by TheJournal.mt can conclude that:
- TV news providers, PBS, NET TV and ONE, should have been awarded in the region of €200,000 each – and assuming all reached the capping long before March 2021.
- Newspapers, Media Today, The Times of Malta, The Malta Independent and l-Orizzont should have taken up to €140,000 each. While the Church’s media outlets Newsbook (radio and portal) would have raked up another €140,000.
- The only online portal that reaches the criteria of the guidelines, LovinMalta would have been eligible for a grant of up to €70,000.
Media support open to all news providers
The scheme was devised to support local news providers during the unprecedented circumstances under which journalists had to operate despite the limitations the pandemic posed on their work. All media outlets continued to provide a regular news service even though they registered decreases in revenues due to the economic challenges that the pandemic brought about.
The scheme was open to all media outlets which employ at least four full time journalists and which provide a daily news service. Television, radio, printed media and/or online platforms were all eligible for the scheme.
In total, all media outlets in Malta have been given more than €1.3 million.
This has made it possible for all media outlets to continue to provide a journalistic service to the local community and keep the Government under scrutiny.
TheJournal.mt is informed that the scheme was approved by the EU Commission and official figures were reported to the Commission following the closure of the scheme in March 2021.