Tax relief and government grants have been set up for struggling media outlets.

Publishers and broadcasters nationwide are scaling back services as revenues plummet during the COVID-19 outbreak.

One of the hardest hit is Australian Community Media, which publishes more than 160 regional newspapers, but now has to stand down workers, suspend some publications and close several printing sites.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has announced a range of relief measures.

Commercial television and radio broadcasters will be spared their spectrum tax for the next 12 months, saving them $41 million.

A $50 million public interest journalism fund has been set up for regional newsrooms.

Free-to-air networks have been freed from their obligation e to produce a minimum amount of Australian content for the rest of this year.

But the government is looking at imposing the same mandatory quotas on streaming services.

Currently, services like Netflix and Disney Plus do not have to produce local content.

“Subscription video on demand has grown enormously over the last few years and yet there are very few regulatory requirements,” Mr Fletcher told reporters in Sydney.

“Whereas free-to-air television, which is under pressure, which is seeing reductions in revenue, faces onerous regulatory requirements.”

The government is also supporting a plan for tech giants like Google and Facebook to pay media companies for their news content.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is negotiating a voluntary code of conduct with big tech companies.