Public Broadcaster’s Licence Fee Declared Constitutional

By 29 August 2018

ZAGREB, August 29, 2018 - The Constitutional Court has rejected several complaints concerning the Law on the Croatian Radio-Television (HRT) and provisions regulating radio and television licence fee, noting that this isn't a parafiscal tax but rather a "specific monetary obligation," to access "those radiodiffusion services that are conducted as a public interest."

"Financing HRT has to be observed in the light of its specific public role," the Constitutional Court concluded in a recently released decision.

The court explained that the "monthly fee cannot be identified with a tax or any other public contribution," and that it is not directly related to owning a TV receiver but rather, access to public radiodiffusion services.

"The obligation to pay a monthly fee is paid only by those citizens who, when purchasing a receiver, realise the possibility of accessing those radiodiffusion services that are conducted as a public interest," the court said in its explanation.

The court rejected claims that HRT was exploiting its monopolistic position or that it is in a more favourable position compared to other commercial providers of radio-diffusion services.

The decision notes that the law specifies that the public broadcaster sets aside 3% of its revenue to the fund to promote pluralism and variety of electronic media while part of its "total annual gross revenue," is allocated to the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.