Give us loans, tax relief, newspaper proprietors beg FG | Dailytrust

Give us loans, tax relief, newspaper proprietors beg FG

The Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) yesterday requested for soft loans, tax relief and other fiscal incentives from the Federal Government to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.

The association also sought increased patronage of the media by the government.

NPAN Chairman Chief Nduka Obaigbena made the request yesterday at a virtual meeting with the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

Obaigbena noted that the media had continued to sensitise Nigerians on the COVID-19 pandemic on all platforms even in the face of drastic reduction in revenue.

He called on the government to enact a policy that would ensure that some online platforms pay for the original content they generate from the various media outlets in Nigeria.

“In Australia, the government has intervened in ensuring that Facebook, Google and Twitter pay for original content by journalists and media practitioners as a matter of policy,’’ Obaigbena said, urging the Federal Government to do same for the Nigerian media.

Responding, the minister said though the Federal Government was facing huge economic challenges due to dwindling revenue, it would consider the association’s requests.

He commended the media for supporting the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, appealing for more support, saying “the government needs the media now more than ever.

‘‘The government is very grateful to the media. You’ve done a lot to bring our message (on the pandemic) to Nigerians,’’ he said.

“The truth of the matter is that as long as there is no vaccine or drug for COVID-19, the only way we can all survive is through the non-pharmaceutical intervention which is actually anchored on advocacy and public sensitization and there is no way you can do this without the media in whatever form whether it is the print, electronic or the new media.

“Yes, we’re going to spend more on research and ventilators, but we’ll spend less money on ventilators, less on isolation centres if we invest just a fraction of what we’re spending on ventilators in the media,” the minister said.

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