The Observer’s board of directors decided to “refuse” government support for the media in the form of advance purchase of institutional advertising, the amounts of which were published on Tuesday in Diário da República. In a statement released this Wednesday, the management of the newspaper Observador and Rádio Observador argues that not only “it never requested this type of support” but “this program does not meet minimum criteria of transparency and probity so that the Observer can accept being part of it ”.
On the other hand, he maintains, the order released Tuesday is “omitted from the distribution criteria and the Government did not disclose how it did the calculations of the amounts”.
According to the list released on Tuesday, Impresa – owner of SIC and Expresso – and Media Capital, which owns TVI, get almost 7 million of the 11.2 million euros in support of the media. On the list, the Observer could have access to institutional advertising contracts worth up to 19.9 thousand euros.
“The Observer never asked for this type of support having, in a letter sent to the Government on March 25 and in other positions, argued that the need for a support program for the media sector should not involve support that would shape the form subsidies (this program is very similar to direct subsidies), and that this program should not be used to solve problems of the past ”, argues the newspaper’s administration.
On the other hand, support “should be neutral in terms of the competitive environment” – stressing that “it is easy to see that this program is not neutral in the distribution of funds” – and should aim to “maintain jobs during these extraordinary times ”. In this regard, it states that there are media groups that will receive this type of advertising when they have workers in layoff.
The Observer’s administration says, therefore, that it will communicate to the Government that it will waive the 19,906.29 euros that appear on the list, “just as it would have waived any other amount allocated under these conditions”.
SIC and TVI owners take almost 7 of the 11.2 million euros in support to national media
Cofina – holder of titles such as Correio da Manhã, CMTV, Jornal de Negócios, Record or Saturday – will receive 1,691 million euros. The Global Media group – owner of Diário de Notícias, Jornal de Notícias, O Jogo and TSF radio – will receive 1.064 million euros.
From then on, the values drop substantially: the Rádio Renascença group will have a support of 480 thousand euros; Trust in News, which owns Visão, Exame and Caras, will receive 406 thousand euros and Sociedade Vicra Desportiva, owners of the newspaper A Bola and Bola TV, will receive 329 thousand euros. The Público newspaper will receive 314.8 thousand euros in institutional advertising contracts.
There are only five other national media groups covered by the measure, among them Newsplex, owner of the weekly Sol and daily i, will receive 38.6 thousand euros; Megafin, holder of Jornal Económico, receives 28.84 thousand euros; Avenida dos Aliados – Sociedade de Comunicação, owner of Porto Canal, will receive 23.2 thousand euros. Swipe News, owner of the economic newspaper Eco, will receive 18.98 thousand euros.
Read the statement in full:
Notice from the Observer’s Board of Directors
1. Upon learning of the content of the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no 38-B / 2020 and the respective Annex II, taken in the framework of Decree-Law no 20 – A / 2020, of 6 May, the Observer decided not to accept the government support in the form of early acquisition of state institutional advertising.
2. The Observer never requested this type of support having, in a letter sent to the Government on March 25 and in other positions, argued that the need for a support program for the media sector did not
it should be supported by subsidies (this program is very similar to direct subsidies), and that this program should not be used to solve problems of the past, it should be neutral in terms of the competitive environment (it is easy to see that this program is not neutral in the distribution of funds), objective in the calculations of the amounts (the order was omitted in the distribution criteria and the Government did not disclose how it did the calculations of the amounts) and aimed to maintain jobs during these extraordinary times (companies with layoff workers will receive advertising).
3. This program does not meet minimum criteria of transparency and probity so that the Observer can accept to be part of it. We will therefore inform the Government that we have waived € 19,906.29, just as we would have waived any other amount allocated under these conditions.
4. In the Resolution of the Council of Ministers, among the foundations of the measure, the need for the State to communicate hygiene measures to citizens in times of pandemic, preventive measures when economic and social activity is resumed, and “address problems that may become more acute ”. Over the course of these two months, we were the reference information body of the Portuguese to obtain precisely this type of information.
information, without the need for state institutional advertising. In April, we consolidated ourselves as one of the Portuguese newspapers with the highest number of visits (33 million), a position that corresponds to the work we have been doing in six years and particularly in this period.
5. With the support of our readers – we have more and more subscribers – and also of our advertisers we will continue to live as we always do: without dependencies and without sarongs.
Lisbon, May 20, 2020
The Observer’s Board of Directors
António Carrapatoso, Duarte Schmidt Lino, José Manuel Fernandes, Rui Ramos