Public service broadcasters use state aid to compete unfairly with newspapers online

European newspaper publishers today urged the EU institutions to ensure that the online activities of public service broadcasters do not compete unfairly with the online services offered by newspapers. The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) called for the remit of broadcasters benefiting from state aid to be strictly enforced, as MEPs prepare to vote tomorrow (Thursday) on a report by MEP Ivo Belet on public service broadcasting in the digital era. The Belet report recognises that newspapers are essential in a pluralistic and diverse media landscape. Newspaper publishers, however, stressed that more should be done to ensure that the huge investment of publishers in developing online services is not undermined by the digital activities of public service broadcasters. Ivar Rusdal, President of ENPA, said: "At a time when newspapers are investing heavily in new online business models, the rapidly expanding online offers of public service broadcasters are distorting the digital market. The online activities of public service broadcasters too often go far beyond their public service remit."

ENPA stated that public service broadcasters and newspapers can co-exist and contribute to promoting democracy and media diversity, but only if there is effective enforcement of the state aid and competition rules. "The online activities of public service broadcasters should be subject to a public value test through independent bodies," said Rusdal. Newspaper publishers also warned against the blurring of lines between the public service and the commercial activities of public service broadcasters. Publicly funded broadcasters are too often using their privileged position to gain online advertising, at the expense of newspapers in the private sector. ENPA emphasised that advertising revenues play a crucial role in providing independent sources of finance for newspapers online. This revenue stream guarantees that newspapers can continue to foster democratic debate and inform European citizens in the digital environment.

The European Newspaper Publishers' Association (ENPA) promotes the professional interests of the European newspaper publishing industry. ENPA represents over 5,200 national, regional and local newspaper titles, published in 23 European Union Member States, plus Norway and Switzerland. More than 150 million newspapers are sold and read by over 300 million Europeans every day, in addition to many millions of unique daily visits to over 2,500 online newspapers’ websites.

For further information contact: Francine Cunningham, ENPA Executive Director Email: - Tel: +32 (0)2 551 01 90


The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats. EMMA represents 15,000 publishing houses, publishing 50,000 magazine titles across Europe in print and digital.

The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 16 national associations across 13 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.