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RTÉ to get Covid fund as 'Business Post' staff take pay cut

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RTÉ and Virgin Media will be able to claim extra cash for covering the Covid-19 crisis after struggling local radio stations were granted a €2.5m emergency fund.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland is set to announce funding for commercial and public service TV around September, although it is unclear exactly how much.

It comes as journalists at the 'Business Post' newspaper are the latest to suffer a temporary pay cut as a result of the economic shock from the Covid-19 outbreak.

Yesterday, the BAI unveiled supports of up to €95,000 each for independent commercial radio stations to raise public awareness and understanding of the virus.

Séamus Dooley, assistant general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said the decision highlighted the "entirely inadequate response" of Communications Minister Richard Bruton to the crisis in the media.

"The minister has shown no awareness of the role of the regional newspaper sector and has been deaf to the pleas of the NUJ to the need for a strategic approach to media policy in Ireland," he said.

He said Mr Bruton has declined to provide leadership in regard to the provision of adequate funding for RTÉ, which is in financial peril at a time when public service broadcasting is critical.

Salaries

Meanwhile, 'Business Post' journalists are set for pay cuts of up to 15pc. Pay cuts of 5pc for junior staff, 10pc for most journalists and 15pc for the senior leadership team have been announced internally and will run for the three months to the end of June.

Cost-cutting measures will also apply to profitable teams at the 'Business Post', including those working in event management and advertising sales, it is understood.

The event management industry has been devastated by the Covid-19 outbreak.

The pay cuts are the latest in a sector that has already seen cuts at media organisations including 'The Journal' and Communicorp's Newstalk and Today FM, as well a swathe of regional newspapers.

INM, which publishes the Irish Independent, told staff this week that it was laying off some commercial staff temporarily on 90pc of pay and cutting pay and hours for others.

Irish Independent