The Government has presented a bill on media support to the Riksdag. The bill proposes introducing a supplementary new media support scheme while preserving the existing press subsidy scheme.
The bill will include proposals to supplement the existing press subsidy scheme with a new technology-neutral and platform-neutral media support scheme to help innovation and reinforce local news coverage in areas currently with little or no journalistic coverage. The media support scheme is based on the model proposed by the recent independent Media Inquiry commissioned by the Government.
The new media support scheme will be open for all general news media without any restrictions as to platform, technology or form. The aim of the scheme is to strengthen democracy by supporting a diversity of general news media with editorial content of high quality. This will help to increase the accessibility of independent news coverage in all parts of the country. One part of the scheme is support intended to give incentives for new initiatives from general news media to provide local news coverage in areas currently with little or no journalistic coverage. The practical details of this support will be designed to promote long-term engagement. A maximum allocation of SEK 1 million per designated area is proposed (normally such an area would be the same as a municipality). The new media support scheme also includes expanded innovation and development support. Subject to the approval ofthe European Commission, the full scheme will enter into force on 1 January 2019.
The existing press subsidy scheme has two parts: the main operational subsidy for newspapers and a small distribution subsidy for collaborative distribution schemes for printed newspapers. Both are allocated according to set tariffs which are determined according to size of circulation. It is proposed that the distribution subsidy increase by 50 per cent and that the operational subsidy within the same scheme increase by 10 per cent for high and medium periodicity newspapers. Subject to the approval of the European Commission, the scheme will be extended without any other changes from 1 January 2019.
The total budget of the two support schemes – the existing press subsidy scheme and the supplementary new media support scheme – will be raised by SEK 55 million for 2019 and by an additional SEK 55 million per year from 2020. The total budget, including the present press subsidy scheme, will be SEK 622 million (≈ EUR 62 million) in 2019 and SEK 677 million (≈ EUR 68 million) from 2020.