How much tax money flows into libraries

Money from the stateFederal publishing funding

Put the newspaper deep in the mailbox - early in the morning when everyone else is still asleep. This is how it is still done everywhere in Germany with the delivery of newspapers. The federal government actually wanted to support this newspaper printing and then distributing it in the country with several million euros - because it is becoming more and more expensive for the newspaper publishers to bring the printed newspaper to the farthest corner of the republic in view of the massively decreasing circulation.

Spotify for journalism?

But now there shouldn't be any state money for the print editions. Instead, the federal government is now for the first time putting money into its hands for digital journalism; namely the Ministry of Economic Affairs; with a "promotion of the digital transformation of the publishing industry", as it is called in the most beautiful official German. There is an important idea behind this, says the media policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Martin Rabanus:

"Somehow we all noticed that our society has been talking about digitization for 25 years, but has only been getting a boost in the last three months. Of course, it is a support, an economic policy measure, if you make these funds available. That is why it is in the Ministry of Economic Affairs. That is why it belongs there. And that it is not a watering can, but targeted and sensibly directed towards the future, that is now the task that has to be achieved. "

(picture alliance / Soeren Stache / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa) Federal government decides on financial aid for publishers
The Bundestag has decided to support newspaper and magazine publishers in the corona crisis with 220 million euros - significantly more and for other purposes than expected by the Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers.

And Martin Rabanus also has a specific idea of ​​how the money could be used - that is, the maximum of 220 million euros that the Bundestag has released for the next few years, for newspaper and magazine publishers. Rabanus envisions a kind of Spotify for journalism.

"My idea would indeed be to see that a platform is supported, promoted and developed on which the various journalistic offers are bundled and accessible via a payment barrier. And what we would do with state money is just that To get started with this technology, so to speak. And the competition between the individual journalistic offers actually takes place on the platform, without any external market-regulating intervention.

No money for editorial

However, Rabanus is not the one who has to decide what to do with the money. Economics Minister Peter Altmaier from the CDU is responsible for this. His ministry is to determine how the German entry into state media funding looks like and wants to work with Monika Grütters, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, among others.

It is to be expected that the money will flow into the infrastructure of the publishers - and not directly into the editorial offices; in order to preserve the journalistic independence of the publishers. Anja Pasquay, the spokeswoman for the newspaper publishers association BDZV, also attaches great importance to this.

"Right at the top, above everything: no money for editorial work, no subsidies for editorial work. But what must not happen under any circumstances, from our point of view at least that the government then also stipulates business models. Because as I said, we are privately organized . It's not about subsidies, we never wanted that. And that's not an easy mix at any rate. "

(picture alliance / dpa / Michael Reichel) Public funding for publishers Should publishers and their newspapers also receive public funding in Germany? This question has long been discussed behind the scenes. The aim of all considerations is to permanently strengthen local journalism. But the solutions are different.

No concept so far

However, whether all publishers will receive money for this - or only those who are also in financial difficulties due to the Corona crisis - has yet to be decided. The BDZV now wants to start talking to its members, i.e. the newspaper publishers. And the responsible Ministry of Economics is now also getting to work, it announced at the request of Deutschlandfunk.

"Work on an implementation concept will begin immediately. This will, however, take a few months because a new concept has to be developed."

The aim is to maintain media diversity in Germany and to strengthen journalism. If it goes according to the decision of the Bundestag, the first million could flow in this year - but there will have to be a decision in the next few months that both politicians and publishers can live with.