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Earmarked tax funding to continue for Yle

A parliamentary working group set up to examine Finnish public broadcaster Yle’s media role is not proposing any change to the system of funding operations through a dedicated tax. Among the working group's proposals announced Thursday is the increased buy-in by Yle of programming from independent producers in Finland and elsewhere in Europe.

Näkymä Yleisradion radiouutisten toimitukseen maaliskuussa 2015. Edessä vasemmalla Monna Tervo ja oikealla Markus Myllyoja. Radiouutisten kuuluttamo näkyy lasiovien takaa.
A scene at Yle's main Finnish-language radio news service operation in March 2015. Image: Laura Mainiemi / Yle

While the group proposed that the tax that funds Yle stays in place, it suggested that no index adjustment be made until after the end of 2020. This means that company financing should be settled for the next seven years.

In addition, the group proposed that Yle funds should remain outside the scope of the government's state budget.

It called for a stronger role for the company's administrative council, which is elected by Parliament, and suggested that in future the council be in charge of determining Yle strategy.

More buy-ins from independent producers

The parliamentary working group furthermore proposed that Yle increase purchasing of programming from Finnish and other European independent producers, as well as production services and other performance rights, by 30-35% by 2022.

The group's report includes a proposal for Yle to undertake negotiations with commercial media aimed at contracting services from the Finnish News Agency STT, or other arrangements which would ensure the continuation of a basic national news service.

Arto Satonen
Arto Satonen Image: Yle

"Additionally, the working group has numerous other proposals for developing cooperation between Yle and commercial media. They have to do with, for example, sports production, online services cooperation and regional homepages," working group chair and Conservative MP Arto Satonen told a press conference on Thursday.

According to Satonen, Yle will do away with homepages for its regional news services, improving the prospects for regional newspaper to compete for daily news audiences.

Diverse but not multicultural

The working group also decided to propose a revision to the section of the official Act on Yleisradio Oy, which mandates Yle's duties, eliminating the word "multiculturalism" from the phrase "support tolerance and multiculturalism" that is specified in the current law.

"This has been changed to the form of 'Yle's duty is to support the preservation of the Finnish cultural heritage, tolerance, non-discrimination, equality and cultural diversity'," stated Satonen.

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