Nordic Model Shows Subsidies Support Media Diversity

by Ebony Bennett

Nordic models of providing subsidies to the media help support media diversity and public interest journalism and should be considered as part of the Albanese government’s commitments to review and improve media policy, according to a new report from the Nordic Policy Centre at the Australia Institute.

Key findings:

  • Norway’s direct ‘press support’ subsidies for newspapers have supported media diversity and access to public interest journalism, with Norway ranked #1 on the World Press Freedom Index.
  • In contrast, Australia ranked 39th on the Press Freedom Index, down twenty spots from 19th in 2018 and remains one of the most concentrated media markets in the world, with dozens more newsrooms closing in the past few years.

“With the new government reviews into the sustainability of public broadcasting and greater news diversity, now is the perfect time to seriously consider what lessons we can learn from the Nordic countries who are world leaders in press freedom,” said Dr Maria Rae of Deakin University, co-author of the report.

“Any town that has lost its local newsroom or newspaper knows the value of maintaining a strong and diverse media,” said Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director of the Australia Institute, and co-author of the report.

“Nordic countries show that government subsidies can support media diversity and public interest journalism for the whole community while upholding press freedoms.

“Now is the time to consider whether permanent subsidies are needed to arrest any further decline in Australia’s media diversity in the long term.”

Join Professor Eli Skogerbø from the University of Oslo, and Dr Maria Rae of Deakin University, for a discussion on press freedom as part of the Australia Institute’s Nordic Talks series.

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