Report on media support impacts published
On 3 August 2022, the Ministry of Transport and Communications published a report on the forms of media support and their likely impacts. The report assesses the current state of media support and puts forward recommendations for possible further work. The report was put together by Forefront Oy, mandated by the Ministry.
The report is based on the proposal by the working group on media support, led by the Ministry of Transport and Communications in 2020-2021, and it discusses support, for example, for editorial production, development, and community media. In addition, the report assesses greater VAT reductions as one form of support.
Currently, Finland does not provide direct media support. The existing support models include a reduced VAT rate for newspapers and digital magazines, a comprehensive public service funded by the public service broadcasting tax, and small-scale support for minority magazines.
The report on media support concludes that, in all the Nordic countries, the volume of indirect support, such as the reduced VAT rate and public service broadcasting, is more significant than that of direct media support. Despite direct support, the turnover and employment of the media sector have decreased in the 2000s due to structural changes in the sector. Support alone would not be enough to alter the course of structural change, but it could be used to boost the vitality of small media actors, for example.
The report recommends that the need for media support should be examined for reasons other than industrial policy. Potential support forms should be examined as part of a broader set of language and cultural policies and from the perspective of the quality, scope and diversity of the dissemination of information. Especially in fragile international situations, the security of supply and comprehensive security of communications should also be taken into account.
The report also recommends that the objectives of media support should be defined more clearly through the desired impacts. When setting up a possible support scheme, it should be decided whether the support is to be used to promote, for example, the amount and quality of communications, the profitability of the media sector or the employment of journalists. It is also recommended that the amount and grounds for granting any support should be assessed in more detail based on the objectives set for the form of support.
The report also states that, in Finland, based on the country’s GDP and relative to the level of media support in the other Nordic countries, the amount of support would total EUR 30–35 million.
No decision has been made on the introduction of media support, and no funding has been earmarked for such purposes in the Budget. The Ministry will take note of the report and use it as a basis for any further preparations if funding is to be allocated to media support in the future.
Sirpa Sillstén, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 50 469 8344, sirpa.sillsten(at)gov.fi
Sini Wirén, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 507 0916, sini.wiren(at)gov.fi