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Media

Press aid reform passes parliament



The Chamber of Deputies voted on Thursday in favour of a plan to provide media subsidies to print and digital outlets on an equal basis. Shutterstock

The Chamber of Deputies voted on Thursday in favour of a plan to provide media subsidies to print and digital outlets on an equal basis. Shutterstock

Luxembourg’s parliament has approved a revamp of the country’s press aid scheme, to reflect the growth of digital media and linguistic diversity.

The Chamber of Deputies has passed an overhaul of Luxembourg’s press support system by a wide margin.

The existing scheme, established in the 1970s in order to promote and preserve media diversity, provided subsidies to newspapers and weekly magazines based on the number of pages printed.

Under the new system, media organisations are subsidised by the number of accredited journalists working in their newsroom, and print and digital outlets are put on equal footing.

Previously, only French, German and Luxembourgish language publications qualified for the main support scheme. The bill opens this up to any language that serves at least 15% of Luxembourg’s population, meaning English and Portuguese language media outlets will qualify.

In addition, there are smaller sums available for community-run outlets and media startups.

Mike Koedinger, founder and chairman of Maison Moderne, the company that publishes Delano and Paperjam, stated: “This new law will allow young media entrepreneurs to launch their media brands, because they can benefit from the ‘emerging media support’. This is the support I would have needed 21 years ago to launch Paperjam. The good news for the established media today is that this new potential competition will challenge us, and keep the teams awake.”

The reform has been in the works since 2013. Bill 7631 passed on 8 July 2021 by a vote of 53 to 6, with 1 abstention. The legislation was introduced by the prime minister, Xavier Bettel (DP), in his capacity as media minister. The bill’s rapporteur was Guy Arendt (DP). The European Commission approved the plan last month.

Updated, 9 July at 2:50pm, to add: The Luxembourg Association of Professional Journalists (ALJP) issued a statement on Friday criticising what it called flaws in the legislation, notably how “journalists” are defined.