Slovakia to Retain License Fee until 2013

By Dominika Uhríková

    BRATISLAVA: Licence fees for the Slovak public-service broadcaster Radio and Television of Slovakia (www.rtvs.sk) will remain in force until at least January 2013, Slovak Culture Minister Daniel Krajcer announced. The decision to postpone the cancellation of the fee by 12 months came amid serious budget cuts, driven by a deficit topping €53 million.

    License fees, payable by everyone who owns a TV or radio, have been the subject of intense public and political debate through successive governments. The standard annual charge for a total licence in Slovakia is €42. In addition to broadcast fee funding, RTVS also receives advertising revenue and government grants.

    The news was surprising to many, as Krajcer had been one of the foremost defenders of the state-subsidy model. In 2010 his party SaS (Freedom and Solidarity), which is now part of the ruling coalition, even put forward a referendum which included a proposal to cancel the fee. The referendum was invalid because voter turnout failed to reach the required 50 percent.