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Subsidies for the Media

Robert Picard


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Subsidies for the media involve state financial support for media operations and content. Although generally considered undesirable from freedom of expression and economic standpoints, they are sometimes necessary to pursue social and cultural goals that markets fail to serve. A wide variety of subsidies are provided to media, but the types and patterns differ depending upon the types of media involved and the political and market orientation of individual nations. Subsidies are provided to promote media industries, support political activities, spur cultural development, meet the needs of minority linguistic and ethnic groups, assist religious and other organizations sanctioned by states, and reward political allies. The term “subsidies” more precisely refers to state intervention that affects the economics of media, including indirect subsidies, such as tax reductions or reduced charges for state services that reduce costs industry-wide, and direct subsidies provided to specific units of media. Regulatory relief that exempts media from regulations faced by other industries can also be a form of subsidy. Media subsidies are found worldwide in nations with widely varying political economic philosophies – ranging from those with high levels of market capitalism to those with strong centrally planned economies – and in countries with widely differing degrees of freedom of expression ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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