Switzerland boosts financial support for struggling news media

In recent years, smaller circulation newspapers, including local titles, have suffered from a loss of advertising revenue, mergers and shrinking diversity. Keystone / Urs Flueeler

The federal government tabled on Wednesday a series of measures to help a sector it considers vital to democracy but that has suffered in recent years from plummeting revenues. 

This content was published on April 30, 2020 - 14:05

Daily and weekly subscription-based newspapers with small circulations will see their federal assistance increase to CHF50 million from the current CHF30 million. A 40,000-print run ceiling for newspapers will disappear. The government is also extending assistance to national titles and to newspapers belonging to a group with an overall average circulation of more than 100,000 print copies per edition. 

Through these measures, an additional 35 million newspaper copies are set to benefit from indirect government financial support. 

Parliament must vote on the proposed package. 

Online media outlets that offer paid subscriptions will also now receive government funding. The government is allocating CHF30 million to support digital transformation in the industry.   

To receive these funds, the outlets must meet certain conditions, including clearly separating editorial content from advertising, creating content for a broad audience, and following journalistic guidelines.  

A decline in advertising revenue, job cuts and mergers have all taken a toll on the news media in recent years. The federal government announced earlier this month it would increase its financial contribution to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, private radio and television, and to the main swiss news agency, Keystone-SDA. 

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