The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005URL (Internet address) : http://www.eu2005.lu/en/savoir_lux/culture/nation_lecteurs/
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The Luxembourg Media Landscape
The press landscape is as singular as it is complex in this country, the smallest member of the European Union with its own distinct geographical and socio-cultural region. According to UNESCO statistics, Luxembourgers are avid readers of the press. Over a quarter of all households purchase more than one daily newspaper, almost always by subscription.
Anyone wishing to read all the products of the Luxembourg press will need to be multilingual. Luxembourg is officially a tri-lingual country, with Luxembourgish, German and French as its administrative languages. There are even weekly newspapers in Portuguese ("Contacto" and "Correiro") as well as a monthly business magazine ("Business") and a weekly paper in English ("352").
Anyone wishing to partake of the leading national newspapers will need to be familiar with German and French at least. Articles in both languages sit side by side and no translations are provided. The author’s choice of language is dictated partly by his or her preference and knowledge and partly by the subject. Culture and business are traditionally French-orientated, while German is usually the language of choice for local news and national affairs.
There has been a rekindling of interest among Luxembourg publishers recently in targeting the country’s French-speaking community, with publications including a special weekly ("Le Jeudi") and two daily newspapers ("La Voix du Luxembourg" and "Le Quotidien") written in French only.
Among the weekly newspapers, "Revue" and "d'Lëtzebuerger Land" can look back over half a century of history. More recent publications include "Télécran" and "Woxx". A wide range of domestic titles caters for diverse special interests, from women’s interests and cars to the new economy. There is also a broad spectrum of specialist publications from parties, associations and trade unions, with around 400 titles appearing each year.
Although astonishing in economic terms, the market has been shared by several daily newspapers for decades – "Luxemburger Wort" (founded in 1848), "tageblatt" (1913), "Zeitung vum Lëtzebuerger Vollek" (1946), "Journal" (1948) and, more recently, "La Voix" (2001) and "Le Quotidien" (2001).
In terms of the level of sales needed to run at a profit, there should be room for only one of these newspapers on the market. The provision of direct subsidies to the press and a number of indirect measures (low delivery charges, high tariffs for official announcements) not only enable the continued existence of these newspapers, but also their low price, which accounts for the high sales and avid consumption by the public. Almost all newspapers now have their own website.
On 19 September 1959, "Radio Lëtzebuerg" made its first broadcast on the VHF frequency 92.5 MHz. Its air time was originally limited to two blocks, 12.30 to 13.30 and 18.30 to 19.00, but was gradually increased over the years, and since 1996 "RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg", as it is now known, has provided a round-the-clock programme.
In the wake of the liberalization of the media in September 1993, a second national radio station called "honnert,7 – de soziokulturelle radio", a public corporation, hit the airwaves. Luxembourg also has four regional radio stations (Ara, DNR, Eldoradio and Radio Latina) and over a dozen local stations.
On 21 September 1969, a three-quarter hour television programme in the Luxembourgish language called "Hei Elei, Kuck Elei" (from the libretto of the Luxembourg operetta "Mum Séis") went out for the first time.
This programme, a review with its own editing team produced by the French "Télé-Luxembourg", was broadcast on Sundays until October 1991, when, at the suggestion of the Government, the format was changed to a one-hour daily live programme repeated at intervals until midnight. The programme is watched on average by approximately 70 per cent of Luxembourgish-speaking households. Special events, such as the accession to the throne of the new sovereign in October 2000 and major sporting events, are broadcast live.
In autumn 2001, RTL extended its programmes for Luxembourg to 18 hours and has also offered special youth entertainment programmes since that time.
Under the terms of its franchise, which was last renewed by the Government in 1994, this private station is committed to neutrality and fulfils the public information functions of a public broadcasting corporation. In return, the Government foregoes its franchise fee. As over a third of the country’s 440,000 inhabitants are foreign nationals, the state provides funding for a French translation of the daily TV news programme, which is broadcast simultaneously on the second stereo channel. There are no licence fees for the public.
A number of regional TV channels broadcast programmes by cable and satellite. Under the current regulations, these channels must be financed exclusively through sponsorship contracts. The "Uelzechtkanal", a regional channel in the south, is produced by students. "Nordliicht TV" and the music and youth format "Tango TV" are all private projects. Other projects include a dedicated channel for live broadcasts from the Chamber of Deputies.