New YLE financing on hold
March 12th, 2010 - 10:51 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

New administrative arrangements and financing reforms for the public service Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE, have been put on hold. The Minister of Communications, Suvi Lindén, announced yesterday that decisions on reforms will be put off until after new Parliamentary elections.

Plans had called for the introduction of a public broadcasting service fee, paid by all households, to replace the present system of financing based on revenue from TV license fees. Lindén said that although government groups had reached agreement on the issue, there was not enough support in Parliament for its implementation.

The Communications Minister stated that her own opinion is that the operations of YLE should be financed out of the state budget. She added that at present YLE finances are in good shape and the company is not in trouble.

According to YLE, the TV licence fee model now in use does not ensure financial health for the company. If no change is forthcoming, YLE will be faced by an operational deficit of several tens of millions of euros. In practice this will mean that significant cuts will have to be made in programming.

The Chair of YLE’s Administrative Board, Kimmo Sasi has expressed surprise at the Minister’s decision. Speaking on YLE’s AAmu TV, he thought the Minister may have given in to lobbying from commercial media.

Mr Sasi noted that wide political agreement had been reached on introducing a public broadcasting service fee and that the proposal remained on the table.