Broadcasters defeat government in tax dispute

11th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

11 September 2007, Karlsruhe, Germany (dpa) - Germany's public broadcasters won a case in constitutional court Tuesday against the 16 state governments, which had attempted to limit the radio and TV corporations' taxation powers.

11 September 2007

Karlsruhe, Germany (dpa) - Germany's public broadcasters won a case in constitutional court Tuesday against the 16 state governments, which had attempted to limit the radio and TV corporations' taxation powers.

The ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio corporations are mainly funded from a tax on television sets and personal computers. The Constitutional Court ruled that the states had no power to overrule a 2005 hike in the tax.

Known as the broadcasting licence fee, it is modelled on a similar tax imposed in Britain by the British Broadcasting Corporation and is collected by a Cologne agency, with investigators checking homes for evaders.

The unpopular tax has been attacked as unfair by commercial broadcasters, who fund their operations from advertising income. Everyone owning a set or a computer with an internet connection must pay the tax, even if they never watch public channels.

The court based the ruling on the constitutional right of the media to resist government interference.

Judges said a committee of experts nominated by the corporations should not have been over-ruled, since the states had been partly influenced by the commercial broadcasters' complaints about the tax.

The court ruled that the current monthly fee of 17.03 euros (23.25 dollars) per household should remain in place till the end of next year, with a big hike to follow.

DPA

Subject: German news

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