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Outrage over licence fee demand for CCTV

David Landes · 14 May 2009, 10:57

Published: 14 May 2009 10:57 GMT+02:00

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“It’s crazy, the screens aren't used for watching TV,” said Dick Malmlund, head of security for the Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel), to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

According to Federation lawyer Anders Thelin, several of the organization’s member businesses have called in recent weeks to complain about the actions of Radiotjänst, the Swedish agency charged with collecting television licence fees.

“They’ve been called by Radiotjänst and when they say they have security cameras they get a bill in the mail,” he told DN.

Sweden’s laws governing TV licence fees defines a television receiver as a technical apparatus which is used to receive the broadcast or rebroadcast of a television programme, and includes devices which can be used for other purposes.

According to the Radiotjänst website, owners of video recorders and cameras with channel selectors, as well as computers equipped to receive television signals are also obligated to pay the 2076 kronor ($262) annual fee.

The income from the fees is used to finance Sweden's public radio and television broadcasting services.

Thelin from the Swedish Trade Federation thinks the current legislation is too vague and takes issue with Radiotjänst’s interpretation that closed circuit television security systems are also covered by the law.

“There are problems with the law because technology is developing so quickly,” he said.

Story continues below…

But Radiotjänst spokesperson Daniel Johansson maintained that the agency is merely following the letter of the law and that, as it stands, people with surveillance systems should by the fee.

“How one uses their receiver has no bearing on the matter, it is how a TV-receiver is defined that is important,” he told DN.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:53 May 14, 2009 by kaze
It is crazy but such is the problem with the system. I know many people who just use their TV for playing games or watching DVDs and don't even have a aerial but still they must pay.
12:05 May 14, 2009 by Mzungu
In SA one cannot purchase a TV unless the purchaser produces a valid TV license,that way at least almost everyone pays his dues,then authorities don't have to scrounge for funds to stay afloat...

*thinking aloud*
12:15 May 14, 2009 by Miss Kitten
How come you still have to pay the TV avgift if you're already paying for digital cable on a monthly basis (which includes all the SVT channels)?
12:30 May 14, 2009 by Craptastical
No kidding. This is something that I've wondered since I got cable service. Why not include the monthly tax in the bill itself? Is it because the providers want to give the illusion of cheap prices?
12:46 May 14, 2009 by Ladybadone
I think that having to pay for channels you dont even watch is a bunch of crap. I never ever watch those swedish channels. So what if i have a tv or computer that doesnt mean i am watching those crappy channels.
13:08 May 14, 2009 by wabasha
swedish TV is quite good, when compaired to swedish radio that is..
13:33 May 14, 2009 by Random Guy
I watch swedish radio and listen to swedish tv. should I have to pay or just keep up with my little blue pills?
13:44 May 14, 2009 by davo339
Retarded Country makes you retarded.
14:16 May 14, 2009 by eZee.se
I once got one of these bills, i called them up and told them i subscribe to cable and dont watch Swedish channels because i dont understand Swedish, they said it does not matter i gotta pay... so i later called them up and told them i dont have a TV anymore, they said i do or else why would i have a subscription with cable?!

Which means... the cable companies give out your info to these SOBs!

I refused to pay on principle and told them i didnt have a tv, i had an old TV at the time... so one day a dude came knocking on my door and then tells me he's come to check if i have a tv, if i dont let him in i would get billed... so i let him in, then carried my old TV out with him and busted the tube, then threw it in the trashcan in front of him... looked him in the eye and told him, i dont have a tv... now go f#"k yourself you greedy sons of ...

I didnt hear from them again.

I have since bought 2 TVs and a sat dish...

For some reason I still get angry when i see their ads on the trains though, for those of you who still dont read Swedish it goes something like this:

Are you paying your TV tax? if not register yourself by calling or smsing this number!

(Under the above text) Know any of your friends or family who are not paying? you can register them as well by going into RadioTjanst.se - The greedy worthless pieces of sh!t organization working for you!

Ok, so i added the greedy part... sue me!
14:47 May 14, 2009 by dtes
they should do away with that crook of an agancy, YES MANY people watch tv BUT some of us DO NOT and I AM ONE OF THEM, I HAVE BEEN ON A TV BOYCOT SINCE BEFORE THE IRAQ WAR AND I WILL NEVER PAY A TV TAX EVER!
14:48 May 14, 2009 by eZee.se
(continued from above post) bought 2 TVs and a sat dish...

For some reason I still get angry when i see their ads on the trains though, for those of you who still dont read Swedish it goes something like this:

Are you paying your TV tax? if not register yourself by calling or smsing this number!

(Under the above text) Know any of your friends or family who are not paying? you can register them as well by going into RadioTjanst.se - The greedy worthless pieces of sh!t organization working for you!

Ok, so i added the greedy part... sue me!
15:13 May 14, 2009 by tommy the cat
Why even have this government department?

Add the cost of the government TV and radio to taxes (I mean we pay enough already, let's get TV in the bundle).

It cuts costs by doing away with the bureaucracy that has to pay wages, maintain offices and advertise.
15:22 May 14, 2009 by davo339
If it makes sense do not expect it to happen here...
16:40 May 14, 2009 by Douglas Garner
It is obvious that I must also now pay more taxes for my cell phones that can recieve podcasts and web TV whether I watch it or not, plus my computer and laptop which can do the same! Will individuals with CCTV systems on their front doors or kiddie cams to watch their sleeping children have to pay more as well?
17:06 May 14, 2009 by Ladybadone
Dont they make you pay though? I think its crazy you have to pay for something in this country you dont even use. I dont watch those channels either, never have, never will.
17:37 May 14, 2009 by Kaethar
Wow, lots of criminals on this board. I pay my TV tax. Am I the only one? Would it matter if I didn't watch the channels? No. Do I have children who use the subsidized healthcare? No. If more people keep on avoiding paying this in the long run they'll have to change the system and increase the tax on your salary instead. ;)
18:58 May 14, 2009 by eZee.se

You seem to have way too much money on your hands if you are willing to shell out 2000kr just because some dumb organization is asking you to, either share some of that wealth here (my organizations name is part-with-money-ye-who-has-too-much) or i'm going to tell skatteverket they need to tax you more..

> No. If more people keep on avoiding paying this...

maybe they'll get the message and just shut the F up and leave us in peace.
20:41 May 14, 2009 by byke
I am glad this subject has been brought up.

I personally dont like the definition of the law as it presumes guilty until proven innocent (and charges for it). I myself pay for a Swedish TV license, but do not have a cable subscription or even analog ariel (can you even get an analog signal nowadays?) However I do own a big TV. Anyway, my situation is this. I think swedish TV is rubbish so I dont use or have my TV set up to receive any TV signal or Cable TV signal or employ any swedish related companies to receive content.

What I do have is my computer set up to my TV and have to stream web based content from my computer over to the TV as this is the only way I can get to watch English Tv (bb1 , bbc2 , ITV, channel 4 etc) these channel are paid for by UK TV license payers.

I really hope someone with big enough balls takes on the swedish government and changes these laws as they are bent.
20:45 May 14, 2009 by mkvgtired
ezee, I agree with you. What an outrageous tax. Not to mention you should be able to opt out of their government propaganda programing and save yourself the Kroner. Even if you do subscribe to cable it is ridiculous to think you would have to pay such a high annual tax just to own a TV.
23:13 May 14, 2009 by 7
this is where the issue needs to be addressed. the fee pays for programming and probably a whole slew of swedish TV related expenses. in other words, it's subsidized by the swedish population. that money needs to be collected and allocated as a part of the rest of the taxes we pay irrespective of who owns a TV. it would make for a more fair distribution.
23:19 May 14, 2009 by Jamtjim
I was reasonably ok with the tv licence as my lad likes bollibompa untill i realised than my licence money also goes to fund "Allsång i Skansken". If i ever hear that bunch of grannies singing "Stockholm i min hjärta" one more time, i swear i'm gonna top myself....
23:23 May 14, 2009 by The Lix-a
Ive never actually thought of a tv licence and i been here nearly 5 y rs, ooops, its not my main priority. I will have to ask my girlfriend if shes ever paid it without telling me. I wouldnt pay anyway, it dosent make sense paying because you own a tv, shouldnt this system of a tv licence be re-thought in this day and age without an analogue signal and everyone using satellite or cable.
00:34 May 15, 2009 by Mister E
So what happens if you don't pay it? Do they turn it over to Kronofogden?
01:32 May 15, 2009 by Nicklouse
so you pay a UK TV license?

01:35 May 15, 2009 by Nicklouse
they used not to bother that much, which is why when the current Government came in there were so many "ministers" that stepped down and resigned and had to pay back years of unpaid Fees.
06:50 May 15, 2009 by sigfus45
Taxes are necessary for the common good. Unfair taxes, incompetent administration, antiquarian complacency and or greed leads to an increasing number of people to ignore/break the tax law.

Note that very few countries have specific taxes on television sets anymore. Such a tax is difficult to enforce given the proliferation of various electronic devices. Google "free to air', should you prefer to ignore supporting local programming.

Judge for yourself the tradeoff between retaining a nationalist attitude or an attitude that encompasses the rest of the world.
07:56 May 15, 2009 by byke
I wonder if these TV license rules in sweden would fall under EU antitrust?

Since it doesn't allow an opt out.
10:28 May 15, 2009 by International Man of Leisure
It *does* allow an opt-out... it's called 'not owning a TV'...

12:52 May 15, 2009 by Movedtoswedenandgotstuck
Good to see I'm not the only one here from the outside universe which thinks the radiotjanst issue is more bent than a truckload of jamacian banana's.

As far as I have been informed by my "morally superior" Swedish wife (she pays the avgift on our behalf...) it is not just TV but all broadcast mediums. So if you have a radio, TV, comupter with internet capabilities, or these days a mobile with internet you should be obliged to pay your radiotjanst fees. Now who doesnt have one or the other about 0.001% of the population. Maybe less?!

Has the treasury ever looked at the value of having this rolled into everyones taxes; then it would be less money out of everbodys pocket per-head instead of per household; and getting rid of the whole radiotjanst setup? Less people would be miffed off by the tools coming around to your house and asking "Have you paid your TV licence?" And the stupid adds claiming "FREE TV", well its sortof free from commercials.

But then again there would be more unemployment since these saps would be out of a job and have to find real ones.

Have a nice sunny weekend everybody.
01:17 May 16, 2009 by superturbo
haha, that's how things are here in crazy-land
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