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Major newspapers to lose press subsidies

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08:22 CEST+02:00
Two major Swedish newspapers, Svenska Dagbladet and Skånska Dagbladet, are to lose almost all of the subsidies they currently receive from the state.

The subsidies for these papers are to be gradually reduced over a five year period until they reach the same level as other, much smaller, daily newspapers.

Small and medium-sized newspapers on the other hand are to receive more funding than before, up to a maximum of 17 million kronor ($2.8 million) per year.

The government's proposal for a revised press subsidy system, much of which has already been previewed in public, was presented in an article in Svenska Dagbladet by Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth.

If the bill is pushed through parliament the changes are expected to take effect in January 2009.

In her article the minister wrote that Svenska Dagblader and Skånska Dagbladet would "need to make changes to adjust to a lower subsidy."

But Svenska Dagbladet's CEO Raoul Grünthal said he did not anticipate any major problems after the government's informal press subsidy agreement with the EU commission was made public last week.

"When viewed in relation to our business as a whole, the press subsidies we currently receive are quite low. Rural newspaers have around thirty percent of their costs covered by press subsidies. For us it would be around one percent," he told news agency TT.

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