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New Yle law brings restrictions on text-only content

In future Yle should attach moving pictures or audio to text based articles. The rules do not apply to minority languages.

Parliament approved a new Yle law on Tuesday, with new restrictions imposed on what the public service media company can produce.

In future text content from Yle must be attached to a video or audio recording. The rule does not apply to minority language content, or to developing live news situations.

Culture and education-related texts are also exempt.

The law is intended to come into force as soon as possible, with the Communications ministry previously suggesting a four-month transition period.

The law change was prompted by a complaint from commercial media lobbyists to the European Union in 2017. They claimed that Yle's text content was taking some of the audience from their own digital services.

Last spring Sanoma, one of Finland's biggest media firms, made another complaint to the EU commission, this time about Yle's Areena streaming service.

A citizens' initiative was also launched to oppose the legal changes, with authors arguing that they wanted Yle to be able to publish stories without a connection to an audiovisual element.

That initiative was rejected by MPs on Tuesday.