German media tax official

Friday, October 20, 2006 at 0:46 | Posted in absurd, computer, Germany, information, internet, Media | 11 Comments
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It is official now that German Internet users have to pay a media tax for their computer as from 1st January 2007 unless they already pay the compulsory bradcasting license fee. Heise online writes that the premiers of the German provinces took a formal decision about the much disputed media tax today. The extra cost for being hooked up to the Web is 5,52 € a month.

The broadcasting fee is used for financing the public radio and television services operated by the German provinces. An analogy of imposing the broadcasting fee to web users regardless of their possession of a television set or radio receiver would be to make it compulsory to buy a bus ticket if you ride on a taxi. After all, you could have used the bus so it would be only fair that you help out to finance the bus services, right?

Farlion, for one, does not think so. He takes this latest absurdity as a final prove that German politicians are living in a World of their own which has little common with the actual everyday life of citizens:

Unsere Politiker sind ein Haufen schlappschwänziger Nullnummern, denen es nur noch um den eigenen Machterhalt geht, damit sie es sich in den bequemen und gut bezahlten Sesseln richtig gut gehen lassen können und auch weiterhin ihre Unfähigkeit in Designerklamotten zur Schau tragen können.

Ich habe die Schnauze voll von den etablierten Parteien. Ab heute scheiße ich einen dicken Haufen auf die Maßanzug tragenden Politbonzen.

As late as yesterday, some premiers signaled that they would prefer the broadcasting license fee to be replaced by a general household tax that everybody would pay regardless of gizmos and gadgets in their possession. That would no doubt be convenient for the authorities since it would generate more revenue and they would not have to pay the cost of inspectors knocking on the doors and asking if there is a telly, radio or computer in the house. Then again, it would not be much different from paying the cost of public broadcasting from the government’s general budget funds.

BooCompany finds that the proposed household tax is a manifestation of an exceptionally cynical sense of humour:

Dass Niedersachsens Wulff erwägt, die öffentlich-rechtlichen Anstalten, mit der Ausarbeitung einer Haushaltsabgabe zu ihren eigenen Gunsten zu beauftragen, zeigt eine Art von Humor, die durch beste Zyniker nicht übertroffen werden kann.

The new media tax in Germany is no doubt a step in the direction of limiting access to free information. The politicians have a hard time accepting and understanding that people no longer depend on broadcasters (public or private) in acquiring news and current information or entertainment, for that matter. Nevertheless, Germany has so far not gone as far as Iran which has banned web connections faster than 128 kb/s to stop access to foreign sources.

Bureaucrats are cute

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at 7:33 | Posted in absurd, Bureaucracy, Germany, internet | 11 Comments
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According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, German banks must pay a radio and TV license fee for their ATM machines from next year. It is not that they would start showing TV programmes to the clients who withdraw money from their account. It is because the ATM uses an Internet connection and as from 1st January 2007, any computer hooked up to the web is considered to be a device capable of receiving radio and TV transmissions.

Bureaucrats are cute allover the World but it definitely takes a German bureacrat to come up with something as crazy as that. Then again, bureaucrats in Brussels are also known for some cute ideas. Let us just hope that they do not have a web connection to Germany. They might want to copy this absurdity to the EU legislation.

via Christian in Vienna

Do not act like I do

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at 3:22 | Posted in ethics, Politics, Sweden | Leave a comment
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Ever so proper and ethical Swedes are shocked to learn what the ever so watchful and ethical press has digged out about their fresh Minister of Culture. It turns out that the conservative minister Cecilia Stegö Chilò has failed to pay for her TV license for at least 16 years. Her husband registered for the fee only five days before Ms. Chilò was to become the minister responsible for public broadcasting in Sweden.

TV license fees make out the basic financing of public television and radio in Sweden. 90 % of the population pays their fee and most of them do not even complain about it. Broadcasting financed by license fees has an exceptionally broad support among Swedes compared to other European nations.

The rightwing government that the Swedes voted for in September has pledged to maintain what is known as “the Swedish model”. While many Swedes would not consider a small scale tax cheat to be a serious matter even for a politician, they are less likely to approve a minister who has actively nibbled the foundations of the very area of government that they are supposed to be responsible for.

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt was not available for comment on Tuesday. He could hardly have gotten a worse start for his cabinet. Having to fire a minister a week after taking over the government does not look good.

I take it he has to do that unless he wants his government to be remebered as the cabinet who said: “Do not act like I do but like I tell you to.”

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