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De Volkskrant - Netherlands | Monday, December 1, 2008

No state aid for newspapers

Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ronald Plasterk has refused state aid for struggling newspapers. The daily De Volkskrant finds this understandable and points to the role of foreign investment funds over the past few years: "Foreign adventures have indeed caused considerable damage, but the responsibility lies with Dutch shareholders, publishers and owners. They often pursued interests other than those of the newspapers, seeking short-term profit maximisation and investing the profits in badly thought-out projects. Product development had low priority for the existing newspapers, with the result that the latter have lost much of their appeal for the new generation of readers. ... Even though the Belgian newspaper market is much tougher than the Dutch market, quality papers like De Standaard and De Morgen have fared much better with their publishers. These publishers are committed newspaper makers who are fully aware of the public function of their papers."

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