Journalism Matters week was launched on October 5 (Monday). The annual event showcases the importance of journalism for all communities.

Organised by the News Media Association (NMA), Journalism Matters week looks to celebrate the vital role journalism plays in our society.

This week which aims to highlight the importance of journalism comes as a major new study “World Without News” has revealed how the nation’s appreciation and value of journalism has increased significantly since the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Against a backdrop of fake news, disinformation and attacks on free speech, 66 per cent of people surveyed said they “appreciate and value journalism more since the global coronavirus pandemic began”.

One of those to speak out in support of Journalism Matters week was First Minister Arlene Foster who said: “A free and fair Press was central to a healthy democracy.

“The rise in citizen journalism has continued apace as anyone with a smartphone can broadcast live to thousands with readily accessible and inexpensive technology.

“In this age of misinformation, which can spread so rapidly online, it has never been more important to have rigorous and impartial reporting of the facts. This enables voters to have an accurate picture before casting their ballot.”

Mrs Foster was echoing comments from The Queen who said: “As our world has changed dramatically, having trusted, reliable sources of information, particularly at a time when there are so many sources competing for our attention, is vital.

“The efforts of the news media to support communities throughout the United Kingdom during the pandemic has been invaluable - whether through fundraising, encouraging volunteering or providing a lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable to the outside world.”

Alison Gow, President of the Society of Editors has said that “the need for trusted, reliable journalism had never been greater than in recent months.

”This year, when we have been kept apart from each other and so much of what is usual in our lives has been disrupted, the need to know what is going on, and to understand it, has never been greater.

“The media has consistently risen to this challenge, exposing errors, seeking to explain complex issues in fast-changing environments, celebrating those who risk their health to care for others, and also – let’s not forget the importance of this – bringing people the kind of news and entertainment that adds a bit of colour to life.”