French state doles out millions to newspapers owned by billionaire press barons


As a result of the digital revolution, print versions of France's national daily newspapers sell barely more than 150,000 copies a day at kiosks and other outlets. This contrasts with a figure of 1.3 million daily copies back in 1990. Yet the French state  always seems ready to come to the aid of the various billionaires who own France's national titles.  Just a few weeks ago  the government set aside 30 million euros in extra help for the printed press. It is an approach which is both unjust and incoherent, argues Mediapart co-founder Laurent Mauduit in this op-ed article.

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Two figures underline both the injustice and the incoherence of the French government's policy when it comes to helping the press. The circulation of print newspapers continues to collapse as digital platforms grow in popularity, to the point where retail sales of national dailies are barely more than 150,000 a day. Yet the government has just decided to release 30 million euros in a one-off grant to help newspapers facing a steep rise in production costs – in particular print editions. This aid is on top of the ongoing annual payments given by the state to newspaper publishers.