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Government media inquiry recommends increased subsidies

Published måndag 7 november 2016 kl 14.50
Chief investigator: Threat to democracy
(2:41 min)
Media inquiry
The newspaper industry is in decline. Today government investigator Anette Novak (right) presented the findings of an inquiry to Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke (left).

A government inquiry into the crisis-ridden media sector recommended press support for digital and free media.

The inquiry was appointed to review the situation for the Swedish media industry, and today it presented its findings. Among the proposals presented to Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke, is increased press subsidies, which would be expanded to include digital media, free newspapers, and news agencies. 

The new press subsidies would be given a boost of SEK 165 million until 2020, and are proposed to come into effect on January 1, 2018.

“These proposals are radically new. But we don’t have a lot of time,” said Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke, of the Green Party.

Chief investigator Annette Novak said a survey had been conducted during the inquiry.

“We can see that there’s a big willingness to pay for journalism. About half of the respondents were prepared to pay for quality news,” she said.

However, Novak added there is a big difference in interest in local news between different age groups.

“Among the younger respondents, only 16 per cent keep themselves updated with what’s happening locally.”

Novak told Radio Sweden said it was important people were willing to pay for journalism.

"If we don't pay for it now, we will have to pay for it in taxpayers' money being lost in mismanagement and corruption eventually anyway," she said. 

The newspaper industry in particular is struggling to make ends meet with declining advertising revenues. In the past five years, revenues have gone down by more than SEK 3.5 billion.

The number of journalists employed by companies tied to the Swedish Publishers’ Association (Tidningsutgivarna) declined from 5,200 in 2011 to 3,900 in 2015.

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