Finland’s new communications minister has told the Finnish press that the current television licence fee should be replaced. Suvi Lindén told Sunnuntaisuomalainen that the public broadcaster YLE should be funded either through regular taxes or by a special supplement that would be paid for by all tax payers. She said the licence fee could no longer be tied to the ownership of a television set when programmes could be viewed on the Internet or with a mobile phone.
The UK television licence fee is already payable by homes watching programmes on the internet, although proving whether someone did or didn’t use a PC for such a purpose would be difficult to explain in court.
A survey by Sunnuntaisuomalainen of 200 parliamentarians found that out of the 132 who responded, 71 were in favour of keeping the present arrangements, 33 said YLE should be funded through direct taxes, and 17 a combination of the two. The current licence fee settlement runs until 2010.
Speaking at the EBU Radio Assembly in Dublin last week, EBU secretary-general Jean Reveillon said the current licence fee arrangement must be maintained, though he added that it should possibly be extended to cover different ways of viewing and listening. He said that in Europe some of the most popular content on iTunes came from public broadcasters