The Estonian Media Enterprises Association (Eesti Meediaettevõtete Liit) has appealed to the government to give media companies four months interest-free tax holiday in order to offset decline in advertising revenue.
According to the media union, it is clear that economic turbulence caused by the coronavirus will also affect Estonian journalism.
"Even if readers stay with us, advertisers ponder and leave, out of worry and uncertainty. According to the prognosis of media leaders, advertising turnover of union members will fall more than €15 million in the second quarter," the union writes in an appeal sent to the government.
The union notes that the media, however, is of vital importance in the current emergengy situation, with rise in reader interest and editorial teams operating at full capacity.
"All online editions of the media union publish official notices connected to the coronavirus operationally and free of charge, but to keep independent and high quality journalism alive, we need certainty, which we expect to achieve with support from the state," the union adds.
The union is asking the government for accommodation in four issues:
- Interest-free tax holiday for publications
Four months of interest-free tax holiday (income tax, social tax, VAT and unemployment insurance) for companies in the media sector. The union estimates that this measure will cost between six to seven million euros.
- Redirect advertising expenditure of public sector into Estonian media
The union asks for the redirection of all media expenditure into Estonian publications and recommends investing money planned for social media and media channels of other countries to be invested in Estonian publishing houses.
- Redirect advertising activities of local authorities into local papers
The association asks for influence to be put on local governments to redirect advertising activities from their newsletters into local newspapers, whose revenue base will be under great pressure in the coming months.
- Lower VAT rate for digital subscriptions
Fourth, the union asks for the acceleration of the lowering of VAT rate for digital subscriptions.
From its side, the media union promises to help the state distribute essential public information. "We are ready to contribute and coordinate the process in three languages, from creating messages to publishing, printing and home delivery," the union confirmed.
Editor: Anders Nõmm