Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Government suspends debate on higher TV fees

Talks on an amendment to a law that would increase the fees to be paid by all citizens for the broadcasting of public TV and radio by RTVS were suspended on August 17.

Culture MInister Marek Maďarič at cabinet session. (Source: TASR)

The draft amendment caused a dispute between Culture Minister Marek Maďarič (ruling Smer party) and the coalition partner, Slovak National party (SNS), the SITA newswire wrote. More than 170 comments were sent in, of which the responsible institution, i.e. Culture Ministry did not accept 85, including essential ones.

SNS announced back in June it would support an increase of these fees – after a debate and systemic changes in the public Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS). Minister Maďarič then threatened to resign if the draft amendment does not pass in the parliament. On the other hand, the three SNS-nominated ministers have confirmed that if the motion is discussed at Wednesday's session, they would not lend their support.

The amendment proposes to increase the so-called concessionary fee – that has not been changed for 13 years – for each Slovak household from the current €4.64 to €7 as of January 2017. Employers should pay from €7 to €697 a month, depending on the number of employees. This rate should be valorised every four years, according to the amendment, depending on the average rate of inflation measured by the index of consumer prices.

The stated goal of the draft amendment is also to enhance the scope of people exempt from paying this fee – for people who are beneficiaries of material need aid and people who live with them. The way RTVS is financed should also according to the Slovak Business Agency. The Finance Ministry required the draft to be re-elaborated so that no institution is subsidised from state money based on increasing its own income.

Stances of coalition partners

“It was my duty stemming from the Government Manifesto to submit an amendment on TV fee hikes at the government session on August 17,” Maďarič said before the session, as quoted by the TASR newswire.. “Not just me, but also the prime minister [Robert Fico] respects the Government Manifesto.” He added that the same document features the signatures of all lawmakers of the ruling coalition.

Maďarič has fully met his obligation stemming from the Government Manifesto, said PM Fico, adding that “now, it’s SNS’ turn, and we’re waiting to see what proposals it will come up with,” he said. Fico added that the culture minister has his full confidence.

At the moment, Maďarič also lacks support from another coalition partner – Most-Híd.

Maďarič also said, however – as quoted by TASR – that he does not see any reason to resign at the moment. “I’m not resigning today,” he said, adding that he does not view the suspension of the talks on his proposal as a failure and that he welcomes Fico’s support.

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

Automotive industry and e-commerce drive the industrial sector

Western Slovakia with Bratislava remains the strongest locality.

Prologis Park Bratislava

The Burning Hell have warmed to Slovakia Video

There is one place in particular that the Canadian musicians have a soft spot for.

The Burning Hell will perform in Bratislava and in Banská Štiavnica.

Investigative journalists awarded for their brave deeds

Seven journalists received the White Crow award for defending the public good. The organisers of For a Decent Slovakia were given a special vote of thanks.

The award-winning journalists

Will sisters Paulína and Ivona Fialková represent Slovakia at the Biathlon World Cup?

The Slovak Biathlon Union has banned them from participating but has also registered them for the World Cup.

Paulína (left) and Ivona Fialková