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The long shadow of the $55m so-called Public Interest Journalism Fund

Summarised by Centrist

With the money continuing until 2026, the allocation of the $55m Public Interest Journalism Fund (PIJF) initiated by the previous Labour government has journalist Graham Adams asking if taxpayer dollars are being used effectively and ethically.

Adams writes:

“NZ on Air mostly marks its own homework and when it hires external auditors for projects the results aren’t made public.“

Journalist Patrick Gower’s recent response to accusations of media bribery with taxpayers’ money, telling critics to “get stuffed”, illustrates the tension between news media and the public over the fund’s allocation. While some journalists defend the fund’s intentions, Adams has questions about its execution and outcomes. He writes: 

“There has also been very little media scrutiny of how NZ on Air itself checks on the money it has dispensed. “

Adams argues that the PIJF has not only failed to restore public trust in media but may have exacerbated existing trust issues. 

The distribution of funds to various media organisations, including substantial sums to individual projects, has many (still) wondering about value for money, accountability, and the impact on journalistic independence. However, Adams writes “it seems extremely unlikely that mainstream journalists will start scrutinising just how well NZ on Air handled the multimillion-dollar fund any time soon.”

Read more over at The Platform

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