New media subsidy scheme suggested in Sweden

The Swedish government has suggested platform-neutral media subsidies, aiming to strengthen local journalism. Over a transitional period, the current press subsidy system will run parallel to the new scheme. The proposals are expected to enter into force in early 2019.
 | 29 March 2018

 In March, a new Government Bill on media subsidies was submitted to the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament). It proposes two new forms of media subsidies open to all general news media, regardless of type or distribution.

One of the subsidies aims specifically to strengthen local journalism in insufficiently covered areas, while the other is an expanded innovation and development support that replaces the current development subsidies for printed newspapers.

The government also proposes that the current press subsidy system continue over a transitional period, including raised support levels: the operating subsidies for papers issued at least three times a week should increase by 10 per cent and the distribution support (a smaller proportion of the subsidy schemes) by 50 per cent.

In order to receive the new support, the applying media must have a publisher, follow good media ethics, and be generally accessible to all. The management of the support should still be handled by the Press Subsidies Council at the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority, after a name change to the Media Subsidies Council (Mediestödsnämnden).

The current support schemes are approved by the European Commission until the end of December 2019 (the press subsidies) and the end of December 2020 (the development subsidies). The new forms of subsidies, the increased support levels, and the extended period for the current press subsidy scheme also need to be approved on the European level before they can come into force.

Eva Harrie

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