‘Internet users should pay newspaper tax’

Internet users should pay an extra tax on their subscriptions to boost newspaper finances, a government committee said on Tuesday.

The committee was asked by media minister Ronald Plasterk to look at ways to preserve the diversity of the Dutch press, which has been hit by falling subscriptions, partly due to the rise of online news sites.
The committee was headed by Elco Brinkman, chairman of the construction sector organisation.
TV magazines

But Brinkman did not make any suggestions to end the dispute over the way public broadcasters compete with newspapers in operating news-based websites.
Newspapers accuse the public broadcasters of unfair competition because the latter are funded by taxpayers and do not have to make a profit.
Plasterk has already announced that €8m of the hundreds of millions of euros generated by advertising on public tv and radio channels will be used to stimulate newspaper innovation.
And the government is to pay for 60 promising trainee journalists to work at the big newspapers.
The committee also recommended giving newspapers a free reign to produce their own television guides.
At the moment, only broadcasting companies are allowed to publish full tv schedules. The Telegraaf in particular has long wanted to publish its own tv magazine.
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