null Comments invited on a proposal on government support for journalism

Comments invited on a proposal on government support for journalism

Press release 15.06.2020 12.58 fi sv en

Picture: Shutterstock.

Comments are invited on the government proposal on media support board and government decree regarding government aid for promoting journalistic contents. The deadline for comments is 27 July 2020.

The purpose of the proposal is to support journalism in the conditions caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The emergency conditions have had a strong impact on the operating environment of Finnish journalism. The importance of and social need for reliable and fact-based journalism has increased but the revenue of the media have decreased dramatically.

The aim of the support would be to promote the provision and development of diverse Finnish journalism. The aid would primarily be targeted at the media in greatest difficulty, whose operating conditions would be poor without the aid. The development efforts would be particularly aimed at local and regional levels. The model used for the allocation of the aid would ensure the independence of the media and freedom of expression.

For allocating the aid, it is proposed that an independent media support board be appointed. Its members would be experts in journalism and the media economy. The Ministry of Transport and Communications would not influence the journalistic content or the decisions on beneficiaries of aid.

The board would assess the applicants on the basis of certain criteria. It would be assessed whether they operate according to journalistic principles, serve the wider public, publish self-produced material and whether their application meets the purpose of the aid. The board would not assess individual journalistic content. The members of the board would be appointed for a term of one year. The aid would be granted by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom. The Ministry of Transport and Communications will appoint a working group consisting of representatives of the media sector and experts in the field to support the preparation of the aid.

It is proposed that an amount of EUR 5 million be allocated by no later than 31 December 2020. The legislative amendment is intended as a temporary solution in the exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

Background

On 16 April 2020, the Ministry of Transport and Communications commissioned Elina Grundström to draw up a report on how journalism could be supported in a situation where, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the economic operating environment for journalism has weakened. The aim of the report was to assess the need for support and, if necessary, find one or more forms of support that could be quickly introduced and specifically targeted at journalistic content. On the basis of the report, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has examined the expediency and feasibility of the solutions, for example from the perspectives of national legislation and EU state aid legislation.

What are the next steps?

The deadline for comments on the proposal is 27 July 2020. The request for opinions is available online at www.lausuntopalvelu.fi.

Organisations and private individuals are invited to comment online at www.lausuntopalvelu.fi or by email to kirjaamo@lvm.fi. Following the consultation round, Ministry officials will continue the preparations for the Act.

Inquiries

Olli-Pekka Rantala, Director-General, Data Department, tel. +358 40 772 2153

Emil Asp, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 40 509 9757

Emmi Nykänen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 50 311 2394