Brave new digital world

So far the biggest change of the digi era for me is that I can't see some channels I used to get. Subtv and BBC World are the two I occasionally watched. One of these months I'll get around to buying the necessary equipment to receive digital channels, but this probably won't be it. Needless to say, I approve of the decision to continue non-digital cable broadcasts till the end of the year.

In Helsingin Sanomat, The Communications Minister connected the change to the way the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) is financed:

The introduction of digital television is set to lead to a reappraisal of the position of TV licence inspectors. The expediency of maintaining a force of licence inspectors has been called into question now that nearly every device with a picture screen is capable of showing television images.

"The logic of television fees would not work in the same way, when there are so many channels of distribution. TV licence inspectors would certainly not function in this multi-channel distribution field", argues Minister of Communications Suvi Lindén (National Coalition Party).

Lindén has made noises about abolishing license fees in favor of taxation before, so this is an expedient argument for her.

HS also interviewed an expert who argued in favor of Canadian-style broadcasting policy:
In Canada, all TV broadcasters fulfil public service broadcasting tasks. They are required to regularly draw up precise reports and plans on how they are to promote Canadian culture and identity. Part of the public service in Canada is also financed through public funds.

Jääsaari feels that this kind of a model emphasising culture policy would also be appropriate for Finland. She argues that matters concerning YLE could be placed under the authority of the Ministry of Culture, and not the Ministry of Transport and Communications, as is the case now.

Based on that brief description it sounds terrible. The prospect of MTV3 drafting plans on how they're going to promote Finnish culture and identity simultaneously terrifies and amuses me. I'll admit, though, that I'm not familiar with the Canadian model; maybe it functions better in practice.


egan said...

Taxation and keeping YLE would be the best solution, because it's only the old and stupid (and my girlfriend) who pay the licence now.

Anyone who hears the myth of honest Finns should immediately ask to see the TV licence of whoever is expounding it....

PS-answer your email, will ya?

Ari said...

I agree about funding Yle through taxes. The license fee puts people in a situation to be dishonest without having to fear any repercussions. The inspection regime has no teeth, which is good, because if it did have teeth, it'd be terribly intrusive.

PS: Answered.