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More people could pay broadcast fees

MORE people could pay broadcast license fees as of April 1, 2008, under a draft bill adopted by the Slovak cabinet on September 26.

The bill on payments for public Slovak Television and Slovak Radio services would require all clients of electricity suppliers who live in houses and apartments, and businesses with at least three employees, to pay broadcast license fees, the SITA newswire wrote.

Under the current system, people do not have to pay the fees if they declare that they do not own a TV or radio. About one quarter of the country's 1.9 million households do not currently pay the fee, even though a Slovak Statistics Office survey from 2001 showed that almost 100 percent of households own a radio and a TV.

Viewer and listener fees would remain at the current level of Sk140 (€4.13) monthly under the new bill. The fees would be redistributed: about 70 percent would go to Slovak Television and 30 percent to Slovak Radio.

Both public service media welcomed the new legislation, which still needs final approval from parliament.

The Culture Ministry, which submitted the draft bill, wants to use these changes to increase public media revenues by about Sk800 million to Sk1 billion annually. Broadcast fees already bring about Sk2.1 billion to the public media.

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