The UJF has submitted a statement to the Ministry of Transport and Communications on its draft decree on the promotion of news and current affairs channels in the public interest. The union agrees with the support proposed for commercial TV channels, but states that this falls well below that suggested by a ministry working group on the future and financing of commercial TV.
The working group had proposed that there should be a three-year programme of support for commercial TV amounting to about €8-million a year. But in the new budget the government has earmarked a one-off direct payment of €1-million.
The union’s position is that the level of support for commercial TV needs to be increased, and in its statement to the ministry it illustrates the point with examples from other Nordic countries, where government subsidies for the media are much higher than in Finland. In Sweden, government support for the media is being broadened to cover digital media and is being increased to €75-million a year. In Norway, commercial media companies can obtain support under a five year agreement providing up to €14,5-million a year.
The UJF is concerned at the declining level in the quality of commercial TV news and current affairs programmes provided by the Nelonen TV channel, and the cutbacks in staff and resources for news programmes by MTV.