"The pandemic has had another very dangerous side-effect: it has accelerated the financial decline of many public interest media organizations," he said.
"With estimated losses of $30 billion over the last year for newspapers alone, some fear that the pandemic could become a 'media extinction event'," he added.
The UN Chief said that maintaining independent, fact-based reporting is an essential global public good, critical to building a safer, healthier and greener future.
The Secretary-General called for countries to support the newly established International Fund for Public Interest Media, particularly to secure the future of independent media organizations in low- nd middle-income countries.
That the pandemic is strangling media globally was confirmed in a survey of 14,000 journalists and news managers in 125 countries, conducted by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and Columbia University, both based in the United States.
Media depend on advertising revenues, and more than 40 per cent reported declines of between 50 and 75 per cent.
The result has been salary cuts and staff layoffs.
The survey also revealed the pandemic’s mental toll on media workers.
Some 70 per cent of journalists found the psychological and emotional impacts were the most difficult part of their work.