PRESS RELEASE BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES, DIGITAL ECONOMY AND INNOVATION: The Government of Malta and Google have joined forces to help media houses and journalists innovate within the digital space

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri launched the Google Digital News Initiative Fund, which means that around $150 million are now accessible to the Maltese media industry.

Silvio Schembri said that the way people get their news has changed, from waiting for the evening news to scrolling newspapers on tablets and phones. ‘Curiosity needs to be satisfied instantly not only across time but also space. Nowadays the news media has to adapt to reflect the audience algorithm’, said Silvio Schembri while adding that the Digital News Initiative Fund by Google is aimed at addressing challenges news media is encountering.

The Digital News Initiative Fund is a partnership between Google and news publishers in Europe to support high-quality journalism through technology and innovation, two elements that can boost a sustainable news ecosystem. ‘It’s a source to empower journalism through technology’, said Silvio Schembri, while encouraging stakeholders in this sector to come forward with their projects.

So far, the Digital News Initiative has awarded Euros 51 million to more than 252 projects in 27 European countries, projects that varied from fact-checking projects to others based on content recommendation systems using machine learning technoligies that adapt according to the behaviour of the audience, to projects based on artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies or through virtual reality.

‘This is your chance to innovate in the digital space. Journalism plays an important role in a democratic society, it is one of the four pillars and through the Digital News Initiative Fund we are providing you with tools to strengthen your content keeping in mind your audience’, Silvio Schembri said.

The launch of the fund saw the participation of MEP Marlene Mizzi, who took part in a thematic discussion with Enrico Bellini , Google Public Policy Manager, followed by a video message by MEP Miriam Dalli.

Google Head of Strategic Partnerships, Emea News & Publishers Eero Korhonen gave a presentation explaining in detail the Digital News Innovation Fund.

Source: Government of Malta