Sweden to Spend Millions Bailing out Mainstream Media

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The Swedish government is rolling out a 500 million Swedish kronor (£43.8m/$57.5m) bailout package to help mainstream media companies in the wake of the Wuhan virus.

The funding is the second, and larger, aid package for Sweden’s mainstream media companies. It was initially proposed at the beginning of May, with Swedish culture minister Amanda Lind having now laid out the conditions for companies to qualify.

In a press release, the government said that the aid will be “introduced through amendments to Media Support Regulations and will come into effect on August 13th”. Various media can qualify for the cash, from daily newspapers to websites and radio and television broadcasters, Dagens Media reports.

Part of the bailout money will go towards mitigating losses in revenues due to a slump in advertising since the start of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. At least 100 newspapers across Sweden recently came forward asking the government for help due to declining ad revenues.

The bailout is not the first time the Swedish government has offered mainstream media outlets millions of Swedish kronor.

Long before the Wuhan coronavirus in 2017, the government granted 13.5 million kronor (£1.2m/$1.6m) to media outlets to combat so-called “fake news” ahead of the 2018 national election. Vinnova, the Swedish state fund for research and development, was behind the initiative.

Last month, writer Åsa Linderborg accused Sweden’s media of major bias. According to Linderborg, who formerly served as cultural editor for newspaper Aftonbladet, Swedish mainstream media purposely labelled anyone critical of mass migration as a fascist.

“Everyone who did not want open borders or wanted to talk about integration was branded as fascists,” she said.

“The difficult thing for the cultural left is to find progressive answers to the questions that the right-wing populists want to talk about. Then it’s easier to say: ‘we should not talk about that!” she added.

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