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Public media licence fee 'an anachronism' says culture minister

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 23.01.2013 12:24
Poland's minister of culture has admitted that the current license fee for public television and radio is “an anachronism” but sees no short-term resolution to the problem.

Minsister Zdrojewski: photo - Polish Radio/Wojciech Kusinski

“It is an inefficient tax,” Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski admitted in an interview with Polish Radio on Wednesday.

Figures released in 2012 by the National Broadcasting Council recorded that only one in three users were paying the combined annual subscription fee for television and radio.

This was so in spite of the fact that the license fee is one of the lowest in Europe at 199.80 zloty (48 euros).

Two-thirds of the fee goes towards maintaining public television, and a third to public radio. Those who do not possess a television are technically excluded from the former portion, and pensioners pay nothing at all.

The government has been grappling with how to reform the system throughout its two terms in office.

However, when asked whether 1 January 2014 might still be a feasible deadline for resolving the matter, Minister Zdrojewski was non-committal.

“I'm not going to make any declaration on that matter, as the decision is not in my hands,” he said.

Zdrojewski suggested that the best solution would be a so-called “audiovisual fee.”

He stressed that this must be lower than the current license fee, yet not confined to those registered as subscribers.

However, he noted that a method must be established of excluding those who do not have access to television and radio.

An alternative solution would be to maintain public media through the state budget, in conjunction with a tax on private broadcasters.

A key factor at present is that according to EU directives, the fund cannot be solely financed from the state budget. (nh)

tags: radio, Television
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