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While the government thrashes out Luxembourg’s media subsidy reform bill, Maison Moderne invited a panel of experts to discuss press aid and its place in tomorrow’s society during an event held 14 November 2017
Photo: Maison Moderne
While the government thrashes out Luxembourg’s media subsidy reform bill, Paperjam Club--which, like Delano is run by Maison Moderne--invited a panel of experts to discuss press aid and its place in tomorrow’s society.
Hosted at the Rotondes on Tuesday evening, the panel featured three MPs: Claude Wiseler (CSV), Claude Adam and Yves Cruchten (Déi Gréng) as well as the head of Saint Paul (which owns the Luxemburger Wort, the country’s largest newspaper) Paul Peckels and the Lëtzebuerger Journal’s Claude Karger.
Among the people representing media which is not state subsidised were Christoph Bumb, who founded Luxembourg’s newest media Reporter.lu, along with Woxx and Radio Ara co-founder Robert Garcia, and Maison Moderne’s Mike Koedinger. Each speaker proposed three concrete ideas for reforming the law, which can be seen in the chart below.
Press aid began in 1976 and today the topic is particularly thorny given that three quarters of the €7.5 million state aid envelope given annually goes to Editpress and Saint-Paul. A new regime of online subsidies capped at €100,000 was introduced in January 2017.
The speakers and audience members who asked questions reflected on the lack of diversity that state aid engenders, given that it is allocated to publications covering the gamut of daily news, as opposed to specialist publications which may be published weekly or monthly. Bumb pointed out that this does not encourage innovation. The €100,000 ceiling for online media subsidies was also criticised by Koedinger, explaining that the cost of producing and presenting online content well is much higher than many realise.
In a pre-recorded video, Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel, who is also media minister, explained that discussions were underway regarding the reform. While it was too soon to enter into details, it would be a priority next year, he said.
On social media, meanwhile, the event attracted critics who pointed out the hypocrisy of an event dubbed “in the name of diversity”, which is comprised purely of white, male speakers.
Editpress chief Danièle Fonck had declined to attend because the debate was held in public.