News / 07.02.2012

Resolving YLE’s finances brings peace into the house.

Towards the end of last year parliament approved a new income-linked tax to finance the operations of the public broadcaster, with effect from next year.

The new tax of 50-140 Euros per person annually will be paid by every resident with an income but those with an annual income of less than 7000 Euros will be exempt from the tax. The tax will replace the payment of television license.  

“It is good that the issue has finally been resolved and that YLE will have a stable financial base”, said Jari Niemelä, chairperson of programme workers association (YOT), the Union branch in YLE.

“Cost-cutting measures will be continued but I do not think that there are going to be big changes. This decision certainly increases the feeling of security of workers”, said Niemelä.

The funding of public service broadcasting has been the topic of considerable controversy for a number of years. The new tax was finally settled on as a compromise over two other proposals that had previously been floated but shelved.

Three years ago it was proposed that the television licensing system be scrapped and replaced it with a public broadcasting fee paid by all households irrespective of whether they had television sets. But then Minister of Communication Suvi Linden developed cold feet and failed to submit that to parliament for approval.

The other option of financing YLE from the state budget had widespread support among political parties but its pitfall was that it did not provide firm grounds since the issue of financing YLE would be a subject of annual debate. It was feared that YLE’s independence from government interference would not be guaranteed.

The new financing model would bring in five hundred million Euros of revenue in 2013 when the tax will be implemented.

The tax is also to be extended to companies with turnover of EUR 400,000 or more. For a company that earns between EUR 400,000 and EUR 1,000,000 would pay just over EUR 300, and companies with bigger turnover would pay EUR 600 a year. The YLE tax on corporations is expected to yield EUR 22 million a year.

According to Niemelä, the new YLE tax will also provide job security for electronic media workers outside of YLE because the broadcaster will purchase more from production companies in the future.

According to Chief shop steward Pirkko Esptein, there has been an air of frustration among workers in the past years due to cost-cutting measures and uncertainties, and believes that the decision will also secure good quality journalism and offer more programmes.

Similarly Jari Mäkäräinen, shop steward in YLE Regions says it is a good solution to finance YLE operations through taxation because “that eliminates free riders”. According to him the solution also has an impact on work motivation.
“In this sector a large bulk of the costs stem from labour and when there is certainty over one’s job, of course it also affects the motivation to work”, says Mäkäräinen.

Lauri Kivinen, Director General of YLE has also expressed relief over the resolution of the company’s finances.“

Independence, long-term financing and its level have been fulfilled”, he says.

“We have to think of how money will be used in the best possible way and reflect on our tasks”, said Kivinen, a former Nokia executive.

translated and edited by Linus Atarah

Source article.


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