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Newspapers in Switzerland are in deep trouble and need new support, said a report from a special commission set-up to review the country’s media sphere. Discounts on postal rates and value added tax (VAT) are insufficient “to preserve freedom of the media.” A foundation independent from but supported by the government should be created to aid struggling publishers.
“The business model of newspapers is no longer viable,” reported the Federal Commission on Media (COFEM). “This has an influence on journalism. The evolution of the media is, first and foremost, a business consideration but it is also a political issue.” (See DETEC statement here - in French) The foundation suggested would be modeled on cultural support foundation Pro Helvetica and could be funded directly from the government, an advertising tax, a tax on online transactions, donations and maybe a slice of the radio and TV license fee.
“The profound change that affects the sector is not only on account of digitization, but new consumer habits, more and more diversified,” said the report, essentially saying: forget print, think digital. The committee of experts also suggested increasing support for official news agency ATS to reduce costs to newspapers but focused on aid to digital start-ups. Later this year COFEM will report on Swiss public broadcaster SRG-SSR.
The regional Madeira headquarters of Portugal’s Partido Social Democrata (PSD) is off-limits to journalists “effective immediately,” announced secretary-general Jaime Ramos, reported politico.pt (September 2). Also banned are “non-members, militants and animals” as well as eating on the premises. A spokesperson for Sr. Ramos said there’d be no further comment.
The ban on journalists caught the attention of press freedom advocate Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF), which called the “measure to restrict free access to information extremely worrying.” RSF called the ban “the latest in a long series of attacks by PSD-Madeira against the media.” The PSD-Madeira official party newspaper, Madeira Livre, “has a history of invectives against journalists.” The PSD is rather amorphous on the broad Portuguese center-right spectrum. Madeira is a stunningly beautiful group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, part of Portugal but semi-autonomous since 1976.
Local officials of a far-right political party in Sweden recently advised supporters to phone police if journalists came to their door.
“Well, to be honest, we laughed right out loud when we saw this,” said Swedish daily Expressen managing editor Thomas Mattsson, to Medievärlden (September 9). From the local Habo, southern Sweden, office of the Swedish Democrat (Sverigedemokraterna – SD) party was sent a notice to members and supporters to “seek shelter” and call the police if reporters from Expressen or any other media outlet came knocking. The far-right SD wants to warn its flock of “extreme left Expressen harassing SD members at home.”
“As we approach the day of destiny, September 14, the evil forces are beginning to send out their foot soldiers,” said the SD notice, referring to national elections. The anti-immigration, anti-EU and anti-most everything else SD party is similar in ideology to the National Front in France, UKIP in the UK and Jobbik in Hungary. It is not part of the ruling center-right coalition nor, obviously, the center-left opposition, which holds a slight lead in pre-election polling, noted Reuters (September 2). The notice grouped together all journalists “because the media cooperates with each other and if you cooperate with one journalist all of them will come.” (See more about media in Sweden here)
Several years ago major newspapers in Sweden, including Expressen, refused to accept paid advertising for the SD party deemed vitriolic. Most relented, for freedom of speech reasons certainly; Expressen did not.
Hours before the SD party urged members to avoid journalists, Expressen broke with an investigative piece about a prominent party leader posting racist rantings anonymously on a far (far) right website. “As an editor, I am proud of Expressen's journalists repeatedly exposing political scandals,” said Mr. Mattsson.
Radio listening is quite robust in Latvia, 80% national penetration according to the TNS Latvia audience estimates for the summer quarter. Average daily time spent listening is 4 hours and 11 minutes for people 12 to 74 years. Changes in station rankings are few but interesting.
Public pop music channel Latvijas Radio 2 remains to top ranked national channel and increased average quarter hour share (AQHS) to 24.1% from 21.1% one year on. Public news and public affairs channel Latvijas Radio 1 held 3rd place with slightly lower AQHS 9.4%. Public Russian-language general interest channel Latvijas Radio 4 fell conspicuously to 9th rank to 4.2% AQHS from 4th rank and 6.9% AQHS. Arts and culture channel Latvijas Radio 3 ranked 20th nationally with 0.8% AQHS.
On the commercial side, adult-contemporary Radio Skonto ranked 2nd nationally with 10.2% AQHS, slightly lower year on year. Pop music channel Radio SWH moved into 4th place from 6th one year on with 5.7% AQHS, slightly lower. All-music top 40 channel European Hit Radio fell to 5.5% AQHS and 5th place from 6.3% AQHS. Star FM, the pop music channel owned by Modern Times Group, booted up to 6th place and 4.5% AQHS from 9th place one year on and 3.6% AQHS. (See Latvia national radio audience trend chart here)
Russian-language radio stations in addition to public channel Latvijas Radio 4 appear to have shifted audience. Pop music station Hiti Rossii dropped to 4.4% AQHS from 4.7% year on year while Russian-language dance station Top Radio rose to 4.4% AQHS from 3.9% AQHS. The re-broadcast of Russian contemporary music channel Avtoradio dropped to 1.9% AQHS from 3.0% AQHS while Radio Baltkom, which re-broadcasts programs from Moscow news-talk channel Ekho Moscvy rose to 1.6% AQHS from 0.7% AQHS year on year.
week of September 15, 2014
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In All Things Digital
Encore Une Fois - This Week Last Year in Lingua Franca
Anticipation is a powerful marketing motivator. Put a little wait-time ahead of a new product or service launch – even a service upgrade – and interest builds, chatter swells and customers ready their cash. Chatter, though, is unpredictable; critics and competitors have hashtags too. Clever marketing people know this and plan carefully.
It’s called the silly season and everybody understands. Those last weeks of summer with newsmakers still on retreat and journalists stumbling back to their desks are a challenge for editors. It’s the time sea monsters rise, UFOs fly and even the least consequential events warrant special coverage.
Encore Une Fois - This Week Last Year in Spots & Space
Advertising at its best reflects the mood and spirit of the times. Sometimes this is warm, fuzzy and friendly. Sometimes it’s dark. The promise of digital sharing through social media is irrepressible.
new ftm Knowledge
The Privacy Issue – new
The privacy issue touches every aspect of media. From consumer protection and the rights of individuals to news coverage privacy is hotly debated. New media and old media stumble and the courts decide. ftm offers views from every side of the Privacy Issue. 68 pages. PDF (July 2014)
Media in Greece, Cyprus and Macedonia
The Greek media world has been turned upside down in recent years. Financial constraints coupled with political confusion seem endless while digital media promises a new future. Media in Cyprus, largely tied to Greece, shows certain signs of stress while media in neighboring Macedonia remains under stress. This ftm Knowledge file explores the bright spots and all the rest. Includes updated Resources. 82 pages PDF (June 2014)
Public Broadcasting - Arguments, Battles and Changes
Public broadcasters have - mostly - thrown off the musty stain of State broadcasting. And audiences for public channels are growing. But arguments and battles with politicians, publishers and commercial broadcasters threatens more changes. The ftm Knowledge file examines all sides. 168 pages PDF (March 2014)
Media in Romania and Moldova
The profile of Romania's media scene is complicated. Changes take place often as multi-national media houses exit and "colorful" local owners take over. Neighboring Moldova faces its own set of challenges. This ftm Knowledge file details the rough road to sustainable media. Includes updated Resources. 60 pages PDF (February 2014)
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