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Journalists challenge press subsidy secret in Belgium

It is no secret that the Belgian state supports newspapers with €120 million. The money is given via the Belgian Post for the postal distribution of the newspapers. But the division of the money between the media groups is secret – at least for the time being. Now the Apache news team challenges the secrecy via a Wob-request.

Each year the Belgian citizens pay €120 million to support the distribution of printed newspapers. A typical way of supporting media and democracy in various European countries. The money is distributed via the Belgian Post, who distributes annually about 137 million newspapers. However it is considered a business secret, how much each of the media groups gets in distribution support. This secrecy is now challenged by a WoB request by the Flemish Apache news site.

Apache asks the obvious question: Where does the money go? The Belgian post gets €399 million of annual public support for “general services”, but a recent study by KPMG states, that the services in question could be carried out for €29 million.

The Apache news team set out to figure out, where the money goes and started to follow the “shadowy” money road between state and Belgian Post in June. The current WoB request into the media support is part of that research.


Brigitte Alfter


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