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It's not a tax. It's a fee, required to pay by law to fund independent channels of opinion free from government and/or private funded influence.

200 eur a year is quite cheap for what you get.


Unless you have no interest in watching the programs. Then it's horribly expensive

The point is that you in theory (!!!) get media this way that do not depend on advertisement and are thus more independent from industry influence. This in turn leads to you being able to profit from this even if you do not watch the programs and/or listen to the radio, simply because this injects a different kind of media into the media landscape which in turn other media interact with (newspapers, websites, blogs etc. etc.).

Whether this works in practise is up for debate and subject to opinion, but I do think that the general idea is commendable.

> The point is that you in theory (!!!) get media this way that do not depend on advertisement and are thus more independent from industry influence.

Instead you get a media-station which is entirely dependent on continued blessing from the government. So much better.

That severely limits how impartial it gets to be, and the similar system we have in Norway has consistently proven to provide media-coverage leaning further to the left than the general population does.

It's not a disaster by any means, but I wouldn't argue it's "impartial" either. And I can definitely see why some people would chose not to fund it if given the option.

Again, I see the overall goal as having a balanced media system. I wrote in a reply further down about the same thing. A balanced system does not mean each element has to be balanced (or "impartial"). A government-funded media station still counteracts a commercially funded media outlet on a much more fundamental functional basis than just political ideology.

Both public and private media are in my opinion necessary parts of an overall functioning and thus independent media system. This system, like every complex system, is only able to achieve "impartiality" from a certain point of observation, in this case that of the comparing listener/reader/viewer basing judgement on multiple outlets.

In theory yes. What you get in reality is a left-wing group of journalists concentrated in a very small well-off area in Stockholm that does not in any way represent the population at large. Keep in mind that the employees of SVT are even more leftist than the average journalist. Which is fine, as long as I don't have to pay for it.

This means that I can't trust SVT to deliver "independent" news more than I can trust any other media source in the country. It does not matter at all to me that they are financed by force instead of ads.

Just because they lean left does not mean they are not independent. Independence does not necessitate impartiality. The point still stands that even a left-leaning media adds value to the overall media system by balancing the overall media system. That does not mean every single media outlet has to be balanced.

Just because the given media outlet's political views do not coincide with yours does not negate its cultural function.

I certainly disagree with the BBC regarding a number of political issues, yet I am still glad it exists.

Then why not just pay for it out of taxes like Finland does? That seems cheaper overall than a license fee system with inspectors. And if your view is valid, then that means the small (<3%) of the people with no TV and no internet are getting a social benefit without paying for it.

Because if it's funded by the Government then it becomes a Government TV station. Using a 'BBC' method where there is a law requiring the license fee to be paid and allows for a third party to collect it and deliver the money direct to the broadcaster. This design can loosen the influence the government has on the channel. Whether you agree with the outcome or not, the idea is that the BBC's of this world are not government spokes-channels.

In which case you believe the Finnish Broadcasting Company is now a government spokes-channel, no?

Does it not make a difference that it's set up as an hypothecated tax, where revenue from the Yle tax is dedicated to go to Yleisradio?

I'm in that category. I'm in American living in Sweden. In the US I watched very little TV. Here in Sweden, I don't at all. Most of the video I watch, outside of stupid-internet-clips, are recorded meeting lectures, like from PyCon. (What can I say. I'm boring.)

I have a small software business, which I run out of my home. Sometimes I pull down multi-GB data sets. So it's not like I easily downgrade my network to sub-TV speeds. I wonder if I can just block svt.se at the router level, so that way I have no devices which can contact these shows I'll never watch.

Now, I do realize the logic of having news which is independent of the advertisers. But I would rather just pay for it through (unavoidable) taxes rather than through a licensing system and all of its attendant overhead of license inspectors, forms to fill out, etc.

In Denmark, DR ("Danish Broadcasting") started building a concert hall some years ago - for the modest price of €430 million.

When the construction was done, the bill landed at €670 million. That's your TV license money at work right there.

That's over $20 per month. That would buy several premium content subscriptions for "traditional media" such as The New Yorker, Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc. and quite a bit more "new media" content.

For some of the content, it will be difficult to make the case that traditional media cost structures have to be maintained.

Exactly! A varied collection of premium content from various sources will together form a much broader and more accurate picture than trusting "independent" media with your life.

I suspect it depends on what the offering is. If I had to choose between every commercial TV channel and the BBC for the rest of my life, the BBC would get my vote without hesitation (assuming it maintained its current level of quality).

The offering is a different perspective.

In Denmark the price is around €320. So that's around €25 per month for a service I don't use.

How can you say that public broadcasting is "free from government", when this is the very entity that chooses whether to uphold the laws that provide funding for these stations? For public broadcasting, offending the government is quite literally biting the hands that feeds you.

>It's not a tax. It's a fee, required to pay by law to fund independent channels of opinion free from government and/or private funded influence.

Distinction without a difference. Would I be wrong if I tried to argue that an income tax is not a tax, but rather, a fee required by law to fund public schools, bureaucrats, and roads?

A fee is appropriated, a tax is not. Your government can do what it wants with taxes (e.g. fund wars instead of building roads) but it cannot decide that the radio/television fee will be used for road building (without changing the law).

Every government appropriation is a change in the law. The government passes a bill every year that dictates how money will be divided amongst different agencies and departments. So, there is no way to appopriate tax dollars without a change in the law.

Whether the term used is "tax" or a "fee", it won't make a difference to the pocket that just got picked. If the difference between those terms comes down to the whim of government and its laws, then it remains out of your hands anyway.

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