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Axe falls on local paper subsidies in Carinthia

In Carinthia regional MPs have approved a budget for the first time that does not include subsidies for local media.

That means that Carinthian media in future will only be able to get by with money from the national government - even though that is also being reduced.

Carinthia's finance minister Harald Dobernig (FPK) is due to present the budget in the regional Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday).

Alongside the amount put aside for regional media is a zero.

The press subsidies - the so-called Presseförderung - were introduced in 1975 along with the party subsidies.

At first they were simply tax breaks as a compensation to changes in the VAT introduced at the time.

But 10 years later they became the Presseförderung with the aim of improving journalistic standards and journalistic independence.

Alongside the axing of subsidies the regional government has also drastically reduced the possibility for politicians and parties to place adverts, part of the new transparency law after a spate of scandals over cash for influence.

The implications are clear, across the country staff at media groups are needing to be axed - particularly journalists.

The VÖZ meanwhile has said it is not prepared to accept the move and urged the parties to reject the cut and to increase it instead.

In 1992 the government distributed 22 million to the newspapers.

Currently it is less than half, at 11 million, of which 1.6 million went to Carinthian media last year or at least to papers that had an editorial team in Carinthia.

In addition to the state aid, local media also got a regional grant from provincial officials, which in 2008 was 900,000 Euros, in 2009 it was 800,000 Euros and in 2010 just under 500,000 Euros.

In 2011 there was no more money available from the Carinthian government but they still managed to get 246,000 paid for voluntary services. But this year that has also been axed.

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