Royal family praises journalists working through Covid-19 crisis

The royal family has praised “all of the journalists and broadcasters working to keep us informed” during the Covid-19 crisis.

In a message posted on their Twitter account, the royal family said: “This #ThankfulThursday, let’s recognise all of the journalists and broadcasters working to keep us informed.

“From the national titles and broadcasters, to the local and regional outlets making a difference to the communities they serve – #ThankYou.”

The post linked to a tweet by the Journalists Charity reading: “Journalists are working tirelessly to keep you up to date on #COVID19 when many are facing an uncertain future. #supportjournalism.”

It featured a gif with the words: “Lockdown without journalism? Unthinkable.”

The message from the royal family comes hot on the heels of an appeal from Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick on Wednesday calling on the public to buy a newspaper.

At the Downing Street press briefing, Mr Jenrick said much of the frontline effort in the fight against coronavirus “is being co-ordinated in our own communities”.

He added: “A free country needs a free press and the national, the regional and the local newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure.”

Thursday’s message from the royal family is at odds with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ high-profile battle with the press.

Last month, the couple announced they would be ending co-operation with the tabloid press, saying they refused to offer themselves up as “as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion”.

In their letter to editors they went on to state they believe a “free press is a cornerstone to any democracy” and the media have every right to have an opinion on the couple, “good or bad”.

However, they said an “influential slice of the media” had distanced itself from responsibility for its reports “even when they know it to be distorted, false, or invasive beyond reason”.

Equally, the Government’s relationship with the press has become increasingly strained over the course of the pandemic.

Last month, a Number 10 spokesman claimed “public confidence in the media has collapsed during this emergency”.

It came in response to public outcry over the presence of controversial political adviser Dominic Cummings’ presence at Sage meetings – the committee of experts convened in times of emergency.

But elsewhere, the Government has been making efforts to support the press.

It was recently revealed the Government had brokered a three-month advertising partnership across the newspaper industry to push its “stay at home message” to the public.

The deal was set up in partnership with Newsworks, a marketing body for national newspapers, and was intended to provide a lifeline to struggling outlets.

It is understood the newspaper industry was originally asking for £45 million for the campaign, however it is unclear how close what the final deal was worth.