Industry body Free TV Australia has declared the closure of Australian Associated Press (AAP) a reminder of the need for real action to address the ongoing sustainability of Australian media companies in the face of unprecedented disruption and change.
Owned by Nine, News Corp Australia, The West Australian and Australian Community Media, AAP Newswire is set to close on June 26 after mangement announced the service is no longer viable in the face of increasing free online content. Around 180 jobs will be lost from the company’s editorial operation and hundreds more from subsidiaries. The closure does not affect the Medianet, Mediaverse and AAP Directories operations which will continue to provide press release distribution, a media contacts database, media movements, media analysis, media training and Masterclass events.
Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said “Today’s AAP announcement is a sad reminder of the pressures that Australian media businesses currently face. The work of AAP and its journalists was highly valued by Free TV members.”
“This shines a big, bright light on the impact that digital giants Google and Facebook are having on Australia’s media landscape.
“In response to the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry, the Government has required that Google and Facebook negotiate bargaining Codes of Conduct to redress the substantial power imbalance between them and Australia’s media businesses.
“This also shows the urgency of reform of Australia’s archaic media regulations. It is simply not sustainable for our media businesses to continue to operate under regulations from the last century in areas such as Australian content quotas and advertising restrictions.
“Today’s sad decision to close AAP only serves to emphasise that there is no time to waste in finalising both the bargaining Code and regulatory reform. The risk of Australians losing their trusted, local news services is real and it is here now.”