The reform of the so-called "press aid" is now in the legislative procedure and will be presented to the responsible parliamentary committee. The text adopted by the Government Council will replace the current funding law from 1976.
The aim of the reform is to strengthen media diversity in the long term and to enable a future-oriented further development of the press organs. Specifically, this means that a technology-neutral funding mechanism should be created, that will be available to all publications - print and online under the same conditions.
The conditions are as follows:
- broad content orientation that encompasses political, economic, social and cultural issues in both a national and an international context;
- regular publication: at least once a month for print media, at least two daily contributions for online publications;
- at least five journalists recognized by the Luxembourg Press Council must be employed;
- the editorial content must outweigh advertising content;
- Labeling of sponsored content;
- Ability to remove illegal content such as hate speech, etc. in comment sections.
Expansion of eligible media and promotion of continuous training
In contrast to the current funding scheme, monthly magazines, free magazines and media in Portuguese and English should also be eligible for funding in order to take account of the linguistic diversity in Luxembourg and to integrate alternative business models.
Newspaper publishers and editors are also encouraged to invest in continuous training for journalists, to actively participate in media education and to publish their journalistic principles.
"The press is a cornerstone of democracy. We are strengthening the basis of journalism so that it can fulfill its societal mission in the long term and that the media diversity in Luxembourg is maintained,'' explains the Minister for Communication and Media, Xavier Bettel.
Strengthening editorial work and innovation
The annual funding consists of two parts: On the one hand, a basic amount of EUR 200,000 is planned annually ("innovation aid") and, on the other hand, support is paid out, measured in terms of the number of journalists employed, with an amount of EUR 30,000 per full-time journalist.
"In the current funding regime, the printed pages are subsidized. This is not contemporary and also focuses on the medium rather than the journalistic work. But for me it is about putting the people who do the professional journalistic work in the foreground. The new financing mechanism is therefore calculated on the basis of the number of professional journalists'', the minister added.
The maximum annual amounts are staggered depending on the type of publication (daily newspaper, weekly newspaper, monthly newspaper, online publication) in order to take into account the different cost structures.
Support for start-ups and community media
A second mechanism is aimed at media startups. A team of two professional journalists is enough to receive a fixed amount of EUR 100,000 annually, which is limited to two years, and which must be preceded by expenses of at least EUR 200,000.
A third aid is aimed at community media. This means non-commercial media (including radio and audiovisual media), with at least two professional journalists, who also involve citizens in the editorial work and pursue the goals of media education, integration and social cohesion. The Minister for Communication and Media can grant support of up to EUR 100,000 per year.
Professional journalism as a guarantee of quality and relevance
"Focal point of the various aids of the new law are professional journalists, who are committed to professional journalistic ethics and are therefore subject to due diligence, among other things, and who make up the dividing line between traditional media and social networks," said Xavier Bettel.
An expert commission, composed of both governement officials and external experts, including the press council, will advise the minister on how to grant aid. In order to give all media the opportunity to adapt to the new framework as best as possible, a transition period should allow the media, which would have been awarded higher compensation under the old law, financial compensation for five years.
Press release by the Department of Media, Telecommunications and Digital Policy