State support for overhaul of national news agency in Finland

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-02 04:15:05|Editor: yan
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HELSINKI, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Finnish government on Friday granted 1.5 million euros (1.72 million U.S. dollars) to support the national news agency Suomen Tietotoimisto STT.

The agency was also given a public service requirement to produce news on "open and non-discriminatory grounds". The funding is to secure a 24-hour news service in Finnish and it was approved by parliament last year.

The newspaper-owned STT has been losing paying customers in recent years as groups of newspapers have established news organizations serving them only.

The development of digital communications has also undermined the role of a news agency as a news procurement tool of newspapers.

The ministry of communications and transport noted on Friday that STT has submitted an overhaul plan that appears to secure its future existence. It includes the use of robotics and would contribute to the development of the whole sector as an innovation, the ministry said in a statement.

In 2017, the government gave 3 million euros for 2018 and 2019 to the Finnish commercial television for maintaining its news service. The cost of quality news service has been higher than the proceeds from advertisement spot sales.

There is no national financial support system for newspapers in Finland. Media houses have been reducing staff gradually in recent years.

The national broadcaster Yle is financed through a specific Yle tax based on the income level of the person.