“The Government must ensure that journalists can remain independent of the state despite the $55 million of taxpayer money it’s just given to media companies,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Journalists must be more than free to bite the hand that feeds them – as the Fourth Estate in our democracy they’re obliged to.

“The best journalism exposes information that powerful institutions like governments don’t want in the public domain.

“It would be completely intolerable for media organisations to feel under pressure from a Government because it had provided financial assistance to journalists.

“A robust and independent Fourth Estate is essential to the functioning of our democracy.

“Broadcasting and Media Minister Kris Faafoi must guarantee that journalists will not face reprisals for holding the Government accountable.”