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‘Sad Day For Journalism’: ACCC Boss Reviews AAP Closure

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has revealed its examining the upcoming closure of Australian Associated Press.

The impending closure of AAP comes after 85 years of service and will affect around 500 jobs, including 180 journalism roles, leading to an even more concentrated Australian media market.

According to a report by The Australian, the ACCC was already investigating the competitive impact the closure would have on the media landscape.

(AAP Image/Dan Peled)

‘We are having a look at it… It is a fairly high level look. I don’t want to signal anything in particular, but it is a big development, and a very sad development. Not just for the people involved but for journalism generally,’ Sims told the publication.

Sims says the smaller media companies are more reliant on AAP and its newswire service than the larger players, so its closure would have a detrimental impact on competition.

‘Whether there is any breach of the law, it’s always difficult, especially when these things are largely owned by News and Nine… It’s not easy to show there’s been a breach of law by closing down a business they own. But we are looking at it.

‘It is a very sad day for journalism.’

Journalists, photographers and staff from Nine’s The Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review hold signs in support of staff at newswire Australian Associated Press (AAP) outside Nine’s offices in Sydney, Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Australia’s AAP Newswire will close after 85 years of supplying content to national and global newspapers, broadcast outlets and digital editions. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

Nine Entertainment and News Corp each have a 45 per cent stake in AAP and are both reportedly considering creating their own breaking news services.

A report by The Guardian today also claimed both media juggernauts didn’t want their competitors to have access to breaking stories through the AAP service. The publication also reported yesterday that more than 50 former AAP staff will likely be offered jobs at News Corp and Nine following its closure.

Campbell Reid, AAP chairman, who is also responsible for corporate affairs at News Corp, said the closure of newswire had been forced by the impact of social media and digital engines publishing news stories free of charge.

AAP also released a statement echoing the negative impacts of digital platforms on news as well as a decline in paid subscribers to its service lead to its closure.

‘This difficult decision has been forced by the decline in the number of media companies subscribing to the news wire service in recent years,’ the statement read.

‘The unprecedented impact of the digital platforms that take other people’s content and distribute it for free has led to too many companies choosing to no longer use AAP’s professional service. We have reached the point where it is no longer viable to continue.’

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