French senators permitted controversial authorities laws abolishing the nation’s 89-year-old TV license fee within the early hours of Tuesday morning after a two-hour late-night debate.
The 348-member higher home, by which centre-right affiliated members maintain the bulk, voted in favor of the laws 196 votes to 147.
The payment, at present set at 138 euros ($141) a 12 months, generated €3.2b in 2022 and gives the lion’s share of funding for France Télévisions, Radio France, Franco-German broadcaster Arte and worldwide TV channels France 24 and RFI.
Below the laws, the 23 million French households proudly owning TV units that at present pay the payment is not going to be billed this fall. The federal government is proposing that funding for the sector is now taken out of value-added tax (VAT) revenues.
Nevertheless, Tuesday’s vote additionally noticed the Senate approve an modification to the invoice stating that this methodology of funding may solely be a brief measure lasting till December 31, 2024.
The way forward for the license payment – which was first launched in 1933 to pay for radio companies and expanded to cowl TV in 1946 – has been below debate for near a decade amid the rise of digitisation and multi-platform viewing.
The choice to out of the blue scrap the payment, nevertheless, follows an election promise by President Emmanuel Macron throughout his re-election marketing campaign in March.
A lot of the senators taking to the ground on Monday night agreed the payment was “out of date” and wanted rethinking, however many audio system voiced discontent on the precipitous manner it was being abolished.
Centre-right senator Roger Karoutchi mentioned the nation’s state audiovisual sector had been ripe for reform for years and that the abolishment of the license payment was only one side of such an overhaul.
He mentioned there wanted to be an in-depth debate and parliamentary report into the way forward for the sector by which its future “missions and perimeters” have been set.
“As soon as these elements have been outlined, then we will outline the finance, the technique of financing and the framework,” he mentioned.
Tradition Minister Rima Adbul Malak, who participated within the debate, mentioned the federal government remained dedicated to public sector broadcasting however that plenty of challenges confronted the sector, topped by falling viewership amongst youthful audiences, mistrust of the media and the rise of the worldwide platforms.
She mentioned in an indication of its dedication the federal government had determined to keep up present goals and funding ranges for one more 12 months to present the time essential to “create a street map collectively for the state audiovisual sector.”
The invoice to scrap the payment is included in a supplementary funds bundle geared toward tackling the cost-of-living disaster. The Senate is speeding to vote on all the bundle of measures in time for the parliamentary summer season recess operating August 7-24.
As soon as the Senate has permitted the bundle and set its amendments, it should return to the decrease home for closing approval.