The French seem to really love their newspapers. At least, their government does:
The French state will help provide free newspaper subscriptions to teenagers for their 18th birthdays, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced Friday. But the bigger gift is for France’s ailing print media.
Sarkozy also announced a ninefold rise in the state’s support for newspaper deliveries and a doubling of its annual print advertising outlay amid a swelling industry crisis.
Sarkozy argued in a speech to publishers that the measures are needed because the global financial crisis has compounded woes for a sector already suffering from falling ad revenues and subscriptions.
In a speech to industry leaders, Sarkozy said it was legitimate for the state to consider the print media’s economic situation.
“It is indeed its responsibility … to make sure an independent, free and pluralistic press exists,” he said.