News / 21.06.2016

UJF on proposals on public broadcaster: no major changes

The parliamentary working group responsible for evaluating the role of YLE (the Finnish Broadcasting Company) has not suggested making major changes to the service, allaying fears of a major shakeup in YLE’s mission and funding.

The working group’s report not suggest changes to the tax that provides the funding base of YLE but proposes a freeze in its indexed adjustment until the end of 2019, when the term of the current government expires. YLE’s financial situation would be reviewed in 2018 in connection with the 2019 state budget. From 2020 – 2013, YLE would receive the index adjustment and its funding put back outside the sphere of the state budget, as before.

The working group stated that YLE’s task should include furthering media diversification. YLE should aim to collaborate with commercial media in generating sports programming or by linking commercial media content to YLE’s online services. The specific forms such cooperation would take would be up to YLE and the commercial operators.

The working group proposes that YLE’s duty should be changed from supporting multiculturalism to supporting cultural diversity and the preservation of Finnish cultural heritage.

Under the proposals, YLE’s administrative council would be bolstered, for instance by having a say on proposed changes to YLE’s funding.

YLE’s purchasing of programming, production services and performance rights from Finnish and European independent producers would increase from 30% to 35%, about €62-million a year. This would not be compulsory, if the administrative council were to consider the increase to be unfeasible.

The working group also wants to see YLE begin negotiations on once again becoming a client of the Finnish News Agency STT. A working group should be set up to ensure the contracting of commercial news services. The working group report also mentions the need to decrease VAT on digital news media.

UJF president Hanne Aho said that in the prevailing circumstances in Finland the outcome of the parliamentary working group was reasonable.

“The working group took into account the plight of the commercial media. It remains to be seen how the position on cooperation with commercial media are realised.”

The UJF president said that the working group report was done on the basis of fact and not opinion. “It’s great that the importance of public services is understood and that they are appraised other than on the terms of the market.”

 


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