Hanoi (VNA) – Despite their own struggle against impacts of COVID-19, newsrooms have been working hard to maintain their operation and complete their missions, making contributions to the country’s efforts in controlling the pandemic.

Newsrooms struggling amid COVID-19

According to Tran Ba Dung, head of the Professional Affairs of the Vietnam Journalists’ Association (VJA), COVID-19 has posed unprecedented impacts on domestic press sector.

He said that media agencies have been affected like every other economic sector, with sharp fall in revenue from their products and advertising activities.

Press sector struggling to deal with difficulties, complete tasks hinh anh 1At the film studio of The Thao & Van Hoa newspaper (Photo: VNA)

Media agencies have suffered drop of 60-70 percent in their income, with the hardest-hit being print newspapers, said Dung.

He added that along with print newspapers, other media forms such as TV, radio and e-newspaper have been in the same situation. He stressed the need for policy support for them to help them overcome difficulties.

Agreed with Dung, Ho Quang Loi, Standing Vice Chairman of the VJA, said that in recent years, media agencies have already faced difficulties as they have to share the market share in advertising activities with social network platforms. Now they have become more struggling, he said.

Press sector struggling to deal with difficulties, complete tasks hinh anh 2Ho Quang Loi, Standing Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Journalists’ Association (Photo: VNA)

Reporters have faced not only economic difficulties but also risks in their operations, said Loi.

He noted that in 2020, the VJA submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Finance to ask for support to media agencies to pay for their staff and buy equipment, as well as extension in tax payment and priority for reporters in COVID-19 vaccination. 

Overcoming difficulties for creativity

Dr. Tran Ba Dung said that media agencies have shown good adaption to the situation by cutting cost and reforming their operation models. Many newspapers have sought ways to increase their income by launching reader revenue strategies, including VietnamPlus, Ngay nay and Vietnamnet, he noted.

“The reader revenue model has become popular in the world, but it is still new in Vietnam. I support pioneering newspapers in the field as their move is suitable with the current trend, contributing to raising readers’ responsibility for and appreciation of news products,” stated Dung.

He also stressed the need to give reporters training on skills to operate in case of natural disaster and pandemic.

State support needed

Nguyen Thanh Lam, head of the Press Department under the Ministry of Information and Communications, said that amid difficulties and socio-economic fluctuations caused by the pandemic, the Government has designed unprecedented policies to accompany and ease difficulties for all sectors, including journalism.

The Ministry of Information and Communications itself has spent 11 billion VND (478,893 USD) from the State budget it was allocated in 2020 to pay for news produced by dozens of media agencies on COVID-19 prevention and control activities.

In 2020, the Prime Minister decided to set aside 58 billion VND from the central budget to order news on pandemic prevention and control, thus helping remove obstacles for business and production of media agencies, he noted.

Lam added that the ministry has submitted to the Government a big project for the next five years in a bid to assist the press sector in strengthening communications serving political tasks, with breakthrough policies in mindset and implementation method.

Once approved, the project will be a proof for the Government’s efforts to harmony the management and development of the media, according to Lam.

“COVID-19 has shown the significant role of mainstream media in popularising the pandemic prevention and control skills and raising public awareness of preventing the pandemic, thus making important contributions to the success of the whole political system in fighting the disease,” stated Lam./.