Archive for the ‘Legislation’ Category

Google closes ‘News’ in Spain, not all publishers agree

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Free daily 20 minutos is no fan of Google News leaving Spain. This as a result of the ‘link tax’ that charges website for external links… actually a law specifically aimed at Google, and something publishers in other countries want to copy.

This message of editor in chief Arsenio Escolar appears on the 20 Minutos website.

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Actually, it’s the Google Translate version (is that legal in Spain?), I know Arsenio and he speaks much better english than that. This is the original version.

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Knesset passes anti “Israel Hayom” bill

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Israel Today 2012The Israeli parliament has aproved the first reading of a bill that proposes to make the free distribution of newspapers illegal.

The bill is clearly targeted at free newspaper Israel Yahom (Israel Today) as it stipulates that it only concerns newspapers that are distributed 6 days a week and have at least 30 pages on weekdays and 100 pages in its weekend edition. The only free competitor, Israel Post, is published 5 days a week and is also much thinner.

Israel Yahom, financed by “the richest jew in the world”, US-casino bilionaire Sheldon Adelson, is a strong supporter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the bill a disgrace.

The bill is meant to protect paid newspapers agains Israel Hayom, by far the best-read paper in the country.

Globes, the business paper that reported on the bill, however, does not expect the bill to be apporved in parliament.

Anti-Israel Today bill proposed

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Israel Today 2012Six members from the Israeli parliament, representing different parties (Labor, Yisrael Beytenu, Bayit Yehudi, Hatnua, Shas and Yesh Atid), have proposed a bill that would, in their words “strengthen written journalism in Israel and ensure equal and fair conditions of competition between newspapers”.

Eitan Cabel (labor) said that “Free newspapers also hurt journalism as well as pluralism and democracy in Israel.”

The bill is complicated, it “applies only to the four newspapers with the highest circulation (…) The lowest-priced newspaper of the four cannot cost less than 70 percent of the second-lowest-priced paper.”

It is clearly aimed at Israel Today, the largest (and free) newspaper in the country that supports Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (Jerusalem Post)

Danish Press Subsidies 2012

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Picture 49No less than 59 newspapers will receive money from the Danish Press Fund in 2012. The total amount is 347 million Danish kroner (€47 million).

The pdf of the complete list can be viewed here and shows that 26 foreign newspapers receive €420,000 in total.

Among these ‘ailing’ papers are USA Today (€180), The Independent (€390), The Guardian (€960), IHT (€33,000) and The Financial Times (€95,000).

This could be the last year that non-Danish papers will get a subsidy as there is much resistance in parliament against this part of the law. The largest subsidy for a ‘foreign’ paper, however, goes to German Danish language paper Flensborg Avis (€120,000).

The bulk of the money goes to Danish newspapers. Kristeligt Dagblad will get €3.8 million, Information will receive €3.5 million this year.

Børsen, BT, Berlingske, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, Politiken and free dailies metroXpress and 24timer (both majority owned by Metro International) will each get €2.6 million. Free daily Urban (Berlingske, Mecom) is missing from the list of main benificiaries.

For Metro the subsidy is good news, as there is a discussion going on in Denmark about the press subsidies in general and in particular those for free papers (see previous post). Without the subsidy not only Metro Denmark would lose money, but the whole company would suffer.

Mecom, with eight titles getting a subsidy, profits much more. In total the loss-making company receives almost €11 million in subsidies in 2012.

VAT on newspapers (subscription and single copy sales) in Denmark is zero percent.

Danish press subsidies change threatens Metro

Monday, November 14th, 2011

In Denmark heated discussion started about the subsidies that newspapers receive – mostly for distributing the papers. Some years ago also free dailies (notably Metro and its second Danish free daily 24Timer) started successfully to apply for subsidies.

In 2010 Metro had a EBIT result of €749,000 – but because the company received €5 million in government distribution subsidies, this could turn into a loss without subsidies. Actually, the total results of Metro International could be seriously affected by a change of policy.

Also in 2011 MetroXpress and 24timer – both majority owned by Metro International – received DKK 19 million (€ 2.5 million) state support. The  yearly national Danish newspaper support (€45 million) is mainly aimed at subsidizing distribution. Also newspapers like Børsen, BT, Berlingske Tidende, Jyllands Posten, Information and Politiken receive distribution subsidies.

A Danish commission recommended that the rules for media subsidies should be changed (link to Danish report). Original content produced and the number of journalists newspapers employ would be the new standard. Free newspapers would probably not quality under the proposed rules.

It’s widely expected in Denmark that the government will follow at least some recommendations of the commission (source for much of the information on the new rules: Aske Kammer’s Blog).

Supporting original content seems fair, but stimulating (young) readers to read is also valuable. Punishing free dailies for doing that seems not that fair.

Two Macedonian free papers closed

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

koha2011In the beginning on July, the two free Macedonian free newspapers Shpic and Koha were closed down, together with paid newspaper Vreme. TV-station A1, also belonging to the same media group – cut back in programming.

Yesterday, July 18, the court has been asked to start a bankruptcy procedure against A1. The owner of the TV-station and both newspapers, Velija Ramkovski, was arrested in December 2010, being accused of tax evasion and financial irregularities.

Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), has expressed concerns over the latest media developments in Macedonia because they think they might be politically motivated.

The papers had to closed down because the tax office said they were behind 21 million in taxes. After the tax office move, the papers could no longer pay wages. Albanian language paper Koha, however, still publishes a pdf on the website. The website of Shpic is also still alive. (

Shpic was launched in 2006 and claimed a circulation of 125,000. Koha started in 2007.

E Polis-gate: €9 million tax evasion

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

epolispalermoIn the wake of the closure of free daily E Polis and the bankruptcy of the publisher, the Public Prosecutor of the Cagliari Court (Sardinia) accuses the owners of the paper of “criminal violations of tax legislation” of €9 million at least.

Also the books of advertising company Publiepolis were investigated. The period under investigation is 2006 to 2010, almost the whole publication period of the paper.

Seven executives, including senior management and directors of the companies in question are under investigation. Assets in the same amount as tax evasion were seized: bank accounts, securities, shares, motor vehicles, land, villas and apartments. (Wall Street Italia)

E Polis was launched in 2004 in Sardinia, and started editions in 17 other cities in Italy from 2006 on – in 2008 and 2009 circulation was around 500,000.

In 2007 the paper changed hand when Alberto Rigotti bought the majority of the shares from founder Nicola Grauso.

In July 2010 publication of the paper was ’suspended’.

20 Minutes (Tamedia) competition inquiry

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Swiss publisher Tamedia, owner of the sole French language free daily in Switzerland 20 Minutes is accused of misusing their monopoly position in the western part of the country.

After Tamedia and Edipresse, the owner of competing free daily Matin Bleu decided to merge, Matin Bleu was taken from the market, although in name it ‘merged’ with 20 Minutes.

According to the Swiss organization of Advertisers (Schweizerische Gewerbeverband) rates fot advertising have been raised with 45% in 2010 and with another 10% in 2011.

According to Tamedia, rates are still lower than those in paid publications while both publishers offered advertising in the past for prices below costs. (SwissInfo)

€2.5 million support for MetroXpress & 24timer

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

24timerMetroXpressDanish free dailies MetroXpress and 24timer – both majority owned by Metro International – each receive DKK 19 million (€ 2.5 million) state support in 2011.

The support is part of the yearly national Danish newspaper support project that is mainly aimed at subsidizing distribution. The total sum is €45 million.

Also newspapers like Børsen, BT, Berlingske Tidende, Jyllands Posten, Information  and Politiken receive distribution subsidies.(MediaWatch)

Österreich sued and found guilty

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Visitors of the website of Austrian free daily Österreich will be welcomed with an unusual greeting: “Im Namen der Republik!” Under this heading Österreich admits that it is guilty of suggesting it was the newspaper with the highest circulation.

The paper was sued by Mediaprint (paid dailies Kronen Zeitung and Kurier) who succeeded in getting this message on the competitors homepage (click for bigger version).

Kronen had a sold circulation of 817,549 (first six months of 2010) and a printed circulation of  921,000 – Österreich doesn’t even reach half of this.