GENEVA (AP) — It’s a widespread lament: Conventional newspapers, particularly small native ones, and different media shops have seen subscriptions dry up as worldwide web behemoths have swooped in available on the market for commercials that lengthy helped every day, weekly and month-to-month publications survive.
In Switzerland, the federal government has laid out plans to assist. Swiss voters get closing say Sunday in what polls have advised is turning into an more and more tight contest.
Voters have been casting ballots on the federal government’s plan, handed in June, to inject greater than 150 million francs (about $163 million) into broadcast and print media yearly, together with — in a primary — assist early-morning newspaper supply and on-line media to the tune of 70 million francs (almost $76 million) yearly.
Opponents of the plan pulled collectively sufficient signatures in a petition drive to place the difficulty earlier than the general public, a part of Switzerland’s specific type of democracy that provides voters within the nation of 8.5 million a direct say in policymaking a number of instances a yr.
Foes of the plan say the money injection would waste taxpayer cash, profit huge newspaper chains and the media moguls who run them and harm journalistic independence — by making media shops extra depending on state handouts and thus much less prone to criticize public officers. Additionally they say it’s discriminatory: Free newspapers, for instance, wouldn’t profit.
“A media backed by the state is a media underneath management. Because the adage goes: ‘Don’t bit the hand that feeds you,’” wrote the opponents who pressed for the referendum. They are saying huge print-media teams collectively took in additional than 300 million in income in 2020, even through the COVID-19 disaster.
Many different nations in Europe and past supply assist to newspapers equivalent to by way of postal charge reductions, tax breaks and different measures.
Supporters of the money injection counter that journalism, particularly in native areas which have been ill-served by huge media teams, ought to be thought of a public service, as are many public radio and tv broadcasters in Switzerland, round Europe.
“Media teams are combating to outlive. Advert revenues for print press haven’t stopped declining or are getting swallowed up by giants like Fb and Google, and subscriptions aren’t sufficient,” wrote the Swiss Inexperienced social gathering, which helps the measure.
The brand new cash would largely go towards subsidies or tax breaks on distribution of print media, coaching for journalists, and assist for information businesses in Switzerland. A number of the funds would go publications by associations or non-governmental teams like Swiss-based WWF or the nation’s best-known car affiliation.
Proponents insist that newspapers in Switzerland need assistance, saying greater than 70 have disappeared since 2003. Promoting income in all print publications plunged 42% between 2016-2020 in Switzerland.
Some 30 million francs would go to on-line publications to assist make sure that readers can get native information by way of the web.
The media subsidy measure is certainly one of 4 points on ballots nationwide on Sunday. One other considers a authorities plan to get rid of some legacy charges on companies — and primarily granting them a tax break. Yet one more goals to restrict promoting for tobacco merchandise in areas frequented by kids.
A fourth situation would ban use of animals and other people in exams, with some exceptions – passage of which may have main implications for each imports of some merchandise and analysis in Switzerland’s much-vaunted pharmaceutical trade.