Catalan Government gives free newspaper subscriptions to 18-year-olds

The initiative aims to promote daily news reading and citizen?s knowledge for future generations. Teenagers can subscribe to the newspaper of their choice for an entire year. The free subscription program has increased by 25% in its third year, with more

CNA / Sarah Garrahan

July 1, 2010 01:36 AM

Barcelona (CNA).- A total of 21,349 young people have signed up for the Catalan Government’s program offering free newspaper subscriptions to 18-year-olds. The programme, which began 3 years ago, is part of an initiative by the Catalan Ministry of Culture and Media to promote habitual news reading in young people as well as to foster knowledge of the public space and democratic life of the country. The amount of subscriptions has increased by 25% this year, compared to last year’s total of 17,011. In the three years the programme has been active, a total of 51,457 eighteen year olds have signed up for the initiative.
In 2008, the first year of the programme, 13,097 subscriptions were made. Last year there were a total of 17,011. This year brought a 25% increase with 21,349 total subscriptions. The territorial distribution of the 2010 edition puts Barcelona’s counties in the lead with 14,313 readers, followed by Girona’s (2,008), Central Catalonia’s (1,801), Tarragona’s (1,471), Ponent i l’Alt Pirineu’s (1,320) and finally Terres de l’Ebre’s (436).

The young people can choose between 80 different publications of various themes and ideologies. Results have shown that readers come from media, academic, and professional backgrounds.

Profiles of the chosen publications

Out of all available options, the majority of the subscriptions are daily newspapers (10,818) followed by monthly newspapers (8,157).

As far as content, the majority of subscriptions pertain to general information, as well as cultural, scientific, and historical information (7,325 or 34.31%).

Reading Promotion Plan

The free subscriptions for 18-year-olds are a pioneer effort in Europe. The programme, called the ‘Reading Promotion Plan’ is sponsored by the Catalan Ministry of Culture and Media. It aims to promote reading as a fundamental route to knowledge for the citizen and also sees the initiative as a way of promoting the Catalan language.

One of the programme’s current projects is distributing the first few chapters of published novels in areas of public transport in Catalonia. The publicity campaign entitled ‘Reading makes us greater’ (Llegir ens fa + grans) has also started the Internet forum