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September 2018

Denmark to Scrap the Media Licence Fee

New Media Policy Agreement and Challenges Facing Public Service Broadcasting

Yoshiko Nakamura

The funding and the remit of Denmark’s public service broadcaster DR (Danmarks Radio) are determined by a comprehensive media policy agreement. A new media agreement for the period 2019-2023 was signed in June this year, which stipulates the gradual abolishment of media licence fee that will be replaced with tax, DR’s 20% budget reduction over five years, and DR’s concentration on information, education, children, culture, etc.

The reasons for the abolishment of media licence fee include the increase in evasion of payment deriving from enhanced dissatisfaction among the youth, especially students, and the spread of the perception that media licence fee is socially unfair as it is a flat fee system regardless of income.

In recent years, a number of European public service broadcasters have undergone institutional reforms to ensure fairness in licence fee payment, but the replacement of licence fee with tax in Denmark was decided not as a media policy but within discussion on taxation reform, which is criticized as the product of compromise made in the process of political negotiation. This Danish example may affect discussions of the future of public service broadcasting taking place in other countries.

The NHK Monthly Report on Broadcast Research


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