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Luxembourg: diversity of opinion under threat

Observers of Luxembourg's media market believe the huge cost-cutting measures that have already led a number of newspapers to cease publication present a major threat to diversity of opinion in the Grand Duchy, which is otherwise highly pluralistic. Not only are the readers abandoning their newspapers, advertising revenues are also disappearing, bringing painful losses for publishers. As if that weren't enough, the Luxembourg government is also planning to cut or even eliminate state subsidies to the press in 2015. Not surprisingly, the Press Council and Luxembourg's journalists are less than pleased.

Europe's largest private television and radio company, the RTL Group.
(© picture-alliance/dpa)

The Luxembourg newspaper market is dominated mainly by two major publishers: the Christian Democrat-affiliated publisher Saint-Paul and Editpress, which is closer to the Socialists. The two are bitter rivals. In 2007 both tried to establish themselves in the free newspaper business. Saint Paul founded Point24 and Editpress L'Essentiel. Both of these reached a broader readership in 2011 than the daily with the longest tradition, Luxemburger Wort. Nevertheless, it was impossible for both free newspapers to survive - Point24 ceased publication at the end of 2012, L'Essentiel remained on the market and the paid newspaper Luxemburger Wort regained relevance.

Nevertheless, the readerships of most dailies continue to shrink. This applies to the Tageblatt published by Editpress as well as to the liberal Lëtzebuerger Journal and the communist newspaper vum Lëtzebuerger Vollek. La Voix du Luxembourg, the French-language pendant to Luxemburger Wort, had to close in 2011. Thanks to their e-paper services both Luxemburger Wort and the French-language service from Editpress, Le Quotidien, saw reader figures increase slightly.

Among the magazines, both the cultural magazine Télécran and Revue had to contend with a declining readership. Others, such as the political weeklies Le Jeudi, D'Lëtzebuerger Land, Woxx and the monthly business magazine Paperjam were beneficiaries of the losses experienced by the daily press.

The Portuguese- (Contacto, Correio) and English-language (Delano) magazines form a noteworthy part of Luxembourg's media landscape. More than 40 percent of Luxembourg's population are foreigners and multilingualism is a strong feature of Luxembourg society. There are three official languages: German, French and Luxembourgish. Most newspapers, however, appear only in German or French; Luxembourgish is seldom used as a written language.

Luxembourg is home to Europe's largest private television and radio concern, the RTL Group. In Luxembourg itself, RTL operates the television station RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg, among others.

Press Freedom Index:

Reporters without Borders: 19th place (2015)
Freedom House: 6th place (2014)

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