European Federation of Journalists

Mapping COVID-19 support: Belgium

  • Media sector (emergency)

In French-speaking Belgium, a package of 3 million euros was negotiated for media outlets in financial difficulty and another 3 million euros for public health advertising space through media outlets.

In Flanders, 3.8 million euros were allocated to public broadcaster VRT, and another 3.8 million euros to regional broadcasters. The Flemish Audiovisual Fund and a number of smaller players can also count on another 1.9 million euros and 500,000 euros respectively. New support package of up to 15,000€ per media outlet/self-employed with a 60% drop in turnover in the period 1 August to 30 September 2020 compared to the same reference period in 2019.

  • Specific measures for freelancers

In French-speaking Belgium, 550.000 € were announced for independent journalists via a fund (Le Fonds pour le journalisme) to support the production of journalistic pieces (lumpsum: 700€); Exemption or postponement of the payment of social security contributions for one year for the first two quarters of 2020. Also, self-employed workers were granted a reduction in their provisional social security contributions for the year 2020. Existing rules remained in place for freelancers with no income (temporarily). The monthly payment amounted to 1.614,10€ for journalists with a family and 1.291,69€ for the others. A regional bonus of 2.000€ was available for freelancers in the region of Brussels who can prove a business interruption of at least 7 consecutive days in March and April.

In Flanders, freelance journalists with a fall in their turnover of least 60% between March 14 and April 30 compared to the same period last year could claim the Flemish corona compensation premium of 3000 euros (1500 euros for self-employed persons in a secondary occupation).