Support schemes (state aid) for the media

“Support schemes for the media” are the collective term describing The Ministry of Culture’s support schemes directed at the media sector.

The following support schemes are comprised:

  • Grants for news and current affairs media
  • Grants for weekly newspapers
  • Grants for Sami newspapers
  • Grants for local broadcasting

In addition to the Ministry of Culture’s support schemes, newspapers are supported indirectly as they are not subject to VAT. The rules governing the VAT are the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance.  


Why state aid is awarded to the media

Today Norway has one of the world’s largest media consummation and a large variety of news and current affairs media all over the country.  A large variety of media is an important premise in order to achieve an open and democratic society. One of the purposes of the support to the media is thus to maintain a variety of news and current affairs media. The state aid to the media is also considered as a part of the State’s fulfilment of the claim for infrastructure as set out in the Constitution § 100 6th paragraph stating:”The authorities have a duty to arrange for an open and enlightened public debate.”


Grants for news and current affairs media

The purpose of the Grants for news and current affairs media is to contribute to a variety of news and current affairs media all over the country. The grant is directed at media in difficulties and newspapers with few editions.  Earlier the arrangement was directed solely at newspapers. From 2014 the grant directed at newspapers was made platform- neutral. According to the new scheme grants can be awarded not only to printed newspapers but also to electronic newspapers. Hence now also online publishers can receive grants under condition that the remaining conditions set out are fulfilled.   The grant directed at news and current affairs media are administrated by the Norwegian Media Authority.

Eligible media (re. grants for news and current affairs media)

The most important criteria that need to be fulfilled in order to be eligible for grants is that the media has a news and current affairs feature, a responsible editor, the newspaper is payable and more than 50 % of the edition must be subscribed for. Further the circulation must be of a certain size and there are specific conditions regarding the publishing frequency. A media company may receive grants regardless of publishing platform. However, broadcasting is not covered by the grant/support scheme.   

How to calculate the grant for newspapers and current affairs

When calculating the grant all publishing platforms, both digital and paper based, are taken into consideration.  Relevant factors taken into consideration are information concerning the circulation, publishing frequency, publishing place, distribution and local competitive position.

  • So called number one and stand- alone newspapers (i.e. newspapers that have the highest number of editions or are the only newspaper being published) receive a fixed amount based on the number of weekly editions.    
  • Grants to so called number two newspapers (i.e. newspapers competing against a bigger competitor at the place where the newspaper is published) are calculated based on a collective yearly editions multiplied with a grant rate. The distribution of grants to the number two newspapers is calculated with reference to three different grant rates reflecting the different news papers’ position of competitiveness.

The support scheme is based on the Parliament’s yearly budget resolution and is governed by the Regulation for support to news and current affairs media. 


Grants for weekly newspapers

The purpose of the support scheme regarding grants for weekly newspapers is to contribute to maintaining and developing weekly newspapers with different cultural and social meaning. The grant is distributed by the Norwegian Art’s Council. Norwegian publishers may apply for support to newspapers issued at least 48 times yearly with an approved circulation of at least 500 issues distributed and catchment area all over the country.  In addition, several other criteria must be fulfilled. These criteria are set out in the Art Council’s guidelines for the grants for weekly newspapers

The Ministry of Culture has initiated an evaluation of the support scheme which has resulted in report prepared by the [Norwegian] Media Authority. The report has been on a public hearing. Based on the results from the [public] hearing the Ministry will evaluate the grounds for the establishment of a new support scheme for weekly newspapers administrated by the Media Authority.  


Grants for Sami newspapers

The purpose of grants for Sami newspapers and Sami news pages is to arrange for a democratic debate, opinion making and language evolution in the Sami society. The support scheme is based in the Parliament’s yearly budget resolution and is governed by the Regulation on the support to Sami newspapers.


Grants for local broadcasting

The purpose of the support scheme for local broadcasting is to stimulate a quality orientated and economically vigorous local broadcasting environment reaching a large audience. The support scheme was established by the Ministry of Culture in 2001 and is based in the Parliament’s yearly budget resolution.

Grants may be issued for:

a) program production,

b) efforts for competence building

c) development projects

d)management of local radio stations aimed at ethnical and language minorities.  

Grants are issued based on a rough estimation of what’s a reasonable contribution from the State.  The support scheme is governed by the Parliament’s yearly budget allocation and is governed by the Regulation on support to local broadcasting.