Buyers are sniffing around AAP

By Jenni Gilbert and Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 19 March 2020

Australian Associated Press (AAP) has reportedly paused its planned closure after interest from several investors looking at buying the national newswire.

Owners Nine, News Corp Australia, The West Australian and Australian Community Media earlier this month announced the closure after 85 years, saying AAP had been unable to compete with free information on the internet. 

“I must stress that no decision can be made on the viability of these approaches until meaningful talks take place. We all should be cautious: nothing may come of these discussions," CEO Bruce Davidson told employees today.

The initial consultation process is expected to take a fortnight.

Editorial staff had been given finishing dates of March 27 and June 26 and assurances of full redundancy entitlements.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), a union body for journalists, has urged for AAP to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic to support small publications.

“At a time when Australians are facing the most significant health challenge since the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic, the AAP newswire service is more critical than at any time since the end of the second world war,” the letter to Nine, News Corp and Seven CEOs says.

“Accordingly, MEAA urges the shareholders to reconsider the decision to close the newswire service and to keep the newswire service open right through to the calendar year 2020.”

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