Archive for the ‘Legislation’ Category

Bolloré loses Paris metro monopoly

Friday, November 26th, 2010

parismetroThe Paris administrative court “tribunal administratif de Paris” ruled that the exclusive contract between Paris public transport company RATP and the Bolleré Group (free dailies Direct Matin and Direct Soir) has to be ended.

Free daily 20 Minutes appealed already in 2007 against Bolloré’s monopoly. RATP, however, can appeal against the ruling.

Even if 20 Minutes will be allowed to distribute in the Paris Metro, the terms have to be negotiated, as Bolloré paid a million Euro’s for the distribution rights. With no exclusive rights, their price will be lower, while also 20 Minutes will have to pay a fee as well. With the exclusive rights ruled illegal, also free paper Metro can now apply for a distribution deal. (France2)

Toulouse regulates free paper distribution

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

The Southern French town of Toulouse, with three free newspapers (Metro, 20 Minutes, Direct Toulouse), has introduced regulation for the distribution of free newspapers.

The local government and all publishers agreed that there will be distributors present at all places where free papers are made available in order to tidy up after distribution. Papers also need permission to distribute in public places. (Toulouse7)

Clarin group clashes with Argentine government

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

larazon2009Argentine newspaper group Clarín, also publisher of free daily La Razon, is about to lose control over Papel Prensa, the most important newsprint mill in the country.

Papel Prensa produces 75 percent of the newsprint used by Argentina’s newspapers. Clarín owns 49 percent; the second newspaper in the country, La Nación owns 22.49 percent. The government currently owns 27.46 of the mill; state-owned news agency, Telam, owns 0.62 percent.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is planning a total government takeover of the paper mill. Kirchner provides two reasons for this move.

First Papel Prensa is considered a near-monopoly, meaning that the owner can “control the written word” according to the President. Something she would rather control herself of course.

The second reason is that publishers of  Clarín and La Nación illegally purchased Papel Prensa in 1976 during the military regime. A valid reason of course – especially if it was voiced 30 years ago.

It is more likely that the President wants to muzzle the press by taking the paper mill from them. According to the Miami Herald:

The clash between Fernández de Kirchner and the independent media was ignited in 2008 when conservative daily La Nación and the Clarín Group sided with the farming sector in its battle against the government’s increase in export duties.

After a four-month escalation of street protests and blockades, the bill was defeated in Congress, the first time the president’s Peronist Victory Front had lost a congressional vote since 2003.

Fernández de Kirchner and her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, blamed the loss on the media and especially on Clarín, a former government supporter.

Italian free papers join strike

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

cityprotest2010Italian free newspapers Metro, Leggo, City (picture left from City website), E Polis and DNews all joined the strike against the plans of Berlusconi’s government to restrict reporting based on material gained from police wiretaps.

The government says the wiretap law is needed to protect the privacy of individuals from arbitrary investigation but critics say it will hamper both the fight against organised crime and press reporting on corruption.

The bill can ban newspapers from using transcripts until preliminary investigations are complete, something which can take years. FNSI, the main Italian journalists’ union, said the legislation would “severely limit the right of citizens to know how judicial investigations are proceeding, imposing serious limitations on the free circulation of information.”

Among the few papers on newsstands were “Il Giornale”, owned by the prime minister’s brother, and “Libero”, a pro-Berlusconi daily which said that “the true obstacles to justice are uncontrolled wiretaps.” (RNW)

New anti-Adelson bill proposed

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

After two free anti-freesheet bills were rejected, one on restricting free distribution to one year and one to foreign ownership, the next move is examining ‘tycoon’ power in newspapers, which seems to be directed at Sheldon Adelson’s Israel Today paper as well. According to Globes:

“The Knesset Finance Committee will be asked to examine the involvement of US business Sheldon Adelson, an associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and publisher of “Israel Today”, in the Israeli media market. The decision comes after the committee decided to move forward on a private members bill by MK Haim Oron (Meretz), which calls for government intervention to dilute the concentration of tycoons’ holdings, and to establish a public committee to examine concentration in the economy.”

Metro UK takes action against Metr0

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Mert0London2010Associated Newspapers, the publisher of Metro UK has taken legal action against the distributors of the fake Metro that was handed out in London Friday July 2.

The fake issue carried headlines like “Gordon Brown to be deported to Scotland” (front page, right, click for bigger version), “Two days of actions against Racist Press” and  ”Myth-Busting the Media”.

According to Indymedia UK “Metro has obtained a High Court injunction against “all persons responsible for the publication and/or distribution” of the fake issue, but as the distributors are unknown, “the injunction seems to have been served upon the wrong people”.

The fake Metro – called Metr0 (with a zero instead of the o) – is to be tied to a group that also set up a PressAction blog last month, the article on Indymedia is similar to that on PressAction.

Indymedia/PressAction:

“The owners of Metro, Associated Newspapers Limited, claim this is an infringement of the company’s trademark copyrights, while campaigners argue the company directors “do not have a sense of humour” and have “gone too far in suppressing free speech to protect their commercial interests.”

A spokesperson for Press Action said: “It is very likely that whoever did the spoof was inspired by our callout and wanted to use our name and register the domain with a common address, such as LARC’s, to protect their anonymity. To argue that LARC is “clearly involved with the two days of action,” as the Metro solicitors did in court, is just a desperate search for a scapegoat that is guilty by association.”

The injunction order and other material can be downloaded from Indymedia, on Flickr (source of the picture on the right) more pictures can be viewed.

Distributing fake free papers is not new, a fake activist version of  free daily 20 Minuten in Switzerland appeared when the World Economic Forum gathered in Switzerland, while the French labour union published a fake Direct Matin issue during a strike. The New York Times and de Volkskrant (Netherlands) were also published earlier as free activist papers.

Israeli anti-freesheet bill rejected

Monday, May 31st, 2010

The Israeli parliament – the Knesset – will not vote on a bill that would limit the free-distribution of newspapers to one year. The legislative committee of the Knesset rejected the proposed bill.

Only half of the committee members voted against the bill, but as seven members were absent or did not vote, there still was a majority against the bill.

The bill was mainly targeted at Israel Yahom (Israel Today), the free daily supporting Prime Minister Netanyahu. (Haarezt)

Anti-freesheet bill vote in Israel next week

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

IsraelHayom2009Israel Today owner Sheldon Adelson (casino magnate, the “richest jew in the world”), is flying to Israel to protect the right of his free daily to be published.

A proposal for a bill will be voted on in the “ministerial legislative committee” next week. According to the proposal, by Knesset member Marina Solodkin (Kadima party), called “Prohibition on Distributing Newspapers Free”, newspapers should only be allowed to publish for free one year.

In Israel it is clear that the bill is aimed at ”Israel Today”, which is considered to be very close to prime minister Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, Israel Today has increased its print run from 255,000 copies 300,000 copies. (Globes)

Österreich loses lawsuit against Heute

Friday, February 26th, 2010

vienna2009Free Austrian paper Heute will keep its exclusive right to distribute in the Vienna public transport system.

Competitor Österreich tried to have the exclusive right removed at the Austrian “Kartelgericht” but the court decided to grant Heute the right.

The Vienna administration is now thinking of allowing Österreich more positions in the Vienna streets.

Between the two competitors a long history of quarrels on boxes and racks has been going on, with Heute complaining, the city removing some racks and Österreich putting them back again and suing the competitor. (Der Standard)

In favor of freedom of expression and pluralism, but…

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

After the proposed law whereby newspapers cannot be foreign owned in Israel, also another proposal is targeting free newspapers in the country.

Marina Solodkin, a member of the opposition Kadima party in the Israel parliament Knesset wants to limit the free distribution of newspapers to no more than a year.

Solodkin told Israel National News:

I am in favor of freedom of expression and pluralism, but in the current situation, there is a danger of centralization – one paper for the lower classes that want a free newspaper, and one for the upper classes. (…) Maariv is in danger of folding. There must be fair competition; it is unfair if a newspaper can cause another to close because it’s given out for free. This is what I am trying to prevent.