Monday, September 21, 2009

TV-Fees in Sweden

It’s that time of the month. Bill paying time. There are those things that just have to be paid. Like rent. Then there are the things that I choose to pay. Like parking. Then there are the things that I have decided to pay late. Like the TV-avgift.

Since moving to Sweden in June of 2007 I have never paid the mandatory fee levied by the state to watch TV. Actually, not even watch TV, you have to pay if you have anything that can pick up a TV signal. I’m paying to watch five worthless TV channels (which some people may describe as spewing government propaganda, but not me of course), listen to 45 radio stations, and access radio and TV on the internet. And I’m paying 2076 SEK to do it.

Because I am cheaper than a Tijuana hooker, I made a choice to not pay for cable here in Sweden. In fact, for a large portion of college we didn’t pay for cable TV, or use heat for that matter which was rough in an old house with single pane windows, but damned if we didn’t save at least $10 a month.

Anyway, I knew about the TV fee here in Sweden. I had seen the commercials thanking the good citizens of Karlstad, Umeå, and Ystad for paying their TV fees. They never thanked me. Probably because I never paid. I never really understood how, and I sure wasn’t going to seek out another bill to pay. Especially when I first moved to this country and was living off savings and a part time job. So I didn’t pay.

Then I made a temporary move. One night there was a knock at my door. Mormons I thought. Mormons would have been so much better. It was the TV-avgift guy wanting to collect. I was living a little under the radar, meaning that I wasn’t really on the lease at the place I was staying. The benefits of rent control and a housing shortage here in Stockholm. So I managed to fumble my way through me being an American and just visiting and not really understanding what he wanted. So I lied. First I felt bad, then I felt pretty Swedish, simply because I had avoided the TV-avgift.

Then I moved again, this time a little more legally. A letter arrived at my door all the way from Kiruna. They wanted my money. They assumed that I had a TV. The letter got lost a bit in the move and eventually surfaced a month or two late. I went to Catholic Church a couple of times with friends back when I was younger, and apparently the guilt part of the religion stayed with me. So I sent in the form saying that, yes, I did have a TV, and that, yes, I would pay the fee. Although I had a choice. I could pay the 2076 SEK in one lump sum or break it up into four easy payments of 519 SEK.

I kicked my business degree into action and remembered that if I paid in four different payments and there was no interest to be paid; technically I could make the other money work for me. So I chose four different payments. And am currently making the rest of the money work for me by purchasing large quantities of beer. Lundquist College of Business, preparing the business leaders of tomorrow, today.

Anyway, I was chatting up the old man the other day and mentioned the annoyance of paying money for state run channels that I just really don’t want to watch. And he admitted something. He had never paid the TV-avgift. Clearly, he has earned that Swedish passport. I was jealous, think of all the money he has saved over the years. Here I am, a sucker, paying to watch quality programming like Melodifestivalen. But the invoice has already come. Two of them actually, because thanks to Skatteverket, they know when I moved in and they don’t want to miss out on collecting on those few months it took me to send in my form.

Of course the due date has also come. And gone. And I haven’t paid. I’m going to pay, it’s that guilt thing. But I decided to protest a bit. Hold off until I get the reminder. Maybe even watch some SVT so I feel like I get my money’s worth.

Welcome to Sweden. And my passive protest against state run television.

Subscribe to a Swedish American in Sweden

60 comments:

  1. I think they have a similar excuse for financing bad TV in Italy...I'm surprised they have the same sort of crap in Sweden though. You should take the old man's advice!!:)
    Anyway, great blog.

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  2. Its rough, I know they have it in the UK as well. But doesn't the PM in Italy own a whole lot of the media as well?

    Thanks, and its true, every once and a while the parents come with a gem. Like not paying bills.

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  3. What I find really...well...stupid...about it, is that you're being forced to pay for crappy American Television, which is funded by commercials at home and is 'free'. I would argue the whole, 'I'll pay a fraction for the Swedish TV, but as an American citizen, I am entitled to watch Tyra, Oprah, and Ellen for free.' No one should be forced to pay to watch Tyra. Or those damn Zumba adverts that seems to play for 2 hours every morning....

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  4. Yeah when we get a knock on the door my bf seems to sense it could be them. We turn off the tv and sit quietly...they always go away....but they haven't come around lately. Maybe he gave in and is afraid to admit it to me. But I don't feel guilt. I can't watch the real Swedish tv yet. And the American stuff - yeah I believe I have a right to that...

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  5. So glad that you decided to write a post on this because the other day two Swedes in my corridor were talking about this (in English, of course, because I was there) and I did not understand. So basically, if you have a TV in your attic that you're not using you have to pay?

    If I bought a TV for my room here in Flogsta, how would they know I have a TV? How would that work? I only ask because my mom said she'd buy me a TV... still not sure if I'm going to take her up on the offer because I don't know if I want to pay for cable... and then this weird TV-avgift thing...

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  6. RE: Abby

    Foreign broadcasting companies have to pay for the rights to air those American shows so they have to recoup the cost somehow. Whereas in the US, advertisement revenue pretty much covers the cost of production.

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  7. It's strange that people in Sweden break the law and brag about it. There are other stupid laws as well, but the stupidity of it shouldn't be the reason for not obeying it. The same system is in use in Finland, and our programmes are not that much better. Still I pay the bill, because I'm watching TV. The state has built the whole TV system which all channels use when broadcasting. Like electricity, we should pay for the delivering too. Well done, Hairy!

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  8. Anon: I wasn't actually being *very* serious. It was a joke :)

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  9. TNT@ - In Italy, I imagine, the state run channels are pure propaganda channels. It's not the same in Sweden. At least that's what SVT tells me.

    @Abby - I don't think SVT shows a lot of American crap... Actually, I would say it's one of the Swedish TV-networks that doesn't. At least not back-to-back all day like TV3. Plus they actually have the best Swedish news. That fact alone makes me actually kind of OK to the whole thing of TV-fee. I got to admit I was against it only recently but if SVT goes away we've got no good Swedish news on TV. And no good debate-shows. That's why I'm prepared to pay the bill. I'm still kind of irritated about the whole "forced-to-pay"-thing but I'ms till going to pay.

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  10. I've never really understood the logic behind the TV tax (or whatever it should technically be called). I've heard people explain it as a trade-off that allows them to avoid commercials. But don't at least some channels of Swedish TV have commercials, anyway? I'd much rather deal with commercials on every channel and get TV for free in exchange. I guess it's just what you're used to...

    My husband (a Swede) seems to be more annoyed by commercials than I am, even though generally he's the more laid back of the two of us. Personally, I don't mind having a little built-in time for trips to the kitchen (or wherever) or to chat about the program we're watching. ...Maybe the chatting explains why guys hate commercials. ;)

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  11. Sure, SVT airs crap too but at least it's SWEDISH crap. So you know the TV-fee money is used for something. I mean without SVT we would lose a lot of our own culture, sure a lot of it's crap but it's OUR crap and not some American crap...

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  12. And we've paid for it, goddammit!

    (Sorry, last addition...)

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  13. Ok, after reading Robban's comment (um, almost typed "commercial" there...), I think I'm beginning to get a clearer picture. So you're paying a tax to access SVT? And the channels with commercials are just sort of... bonus? If that's the case, then I guess it'd be kind of like if Americans with televisions were *required* (instead of just begged and begged and secretly forced through taxes) to pay to fund the "public television" channels...

    Maybe the reason there are no decent news shows on non-SVT channels is that SVT exists. If it went away, someone else would probably step in the fill the void with better news programming. If there's a demand, someone's usually willing to provide for it-- but with more of those pesky commercials, of course.

    P.S. I'm pretty sure you can watch some SVT programming on their website. At least my husband does that from time to time. Not sure how much there is, or how quickly it goes online, though.

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  14. @Michael - "typed comemrcial"? It doesn't seem like you got my irony. I just want to make it clear that I was being largely ironic when I wrote most of my previous comments. The only thing that I meant 100% is that SVT has the best news and debate shows in Sweden and , in my opinion, that's a good enough reason to pay the TV-fee. Oh, and the lack of commercials! Thank God (i.e. SVT) for that!

    "So you're paying a tax to access SVT?"

    Not quite. Everyone can watch SVT, everyone who's got a TV, that is. The TV-fee, or tax if you will, is therefore required to be paid by everyone who has a TV in their household.

    "Maybe the reason there are no decent news shows on non-SVT channels is that SVT exists. If it went away, someone else would probably step in the fill the void with better news programming. If there's a demand, someone's usually willing to provide for it-- but with more of those pesky commercials, of course."

    Oh, that's adorable! Of course, supply and demand will take care of it!

    To be honest, I think it's more profitable and more popular to air cheap American programs and Swedish entertainment shows than good news and debate shows (and boring drama series).

    And I don't think there's enough money in Sweden, today, to start a good serious news channel if you're not financed by a TV-fee, of course. They would have to finance it with commercials and programs the large mass wants to see, like not-news and not-debate shows and BAM! we would have another TV3, TV4 or TV5.

    "P.S. I'm pretty sure you can watch some SVT programming on their website. At least my husband does that from time to time. Not sure how much there is, or how quickly it goes online, though."

    You can, and the quality is pretty good and it's pretty fast. But that's not the point. In order for that to exist, as well, people still have to pay their TV-bills.

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  15. By the way, why is your name Michael? You're clearly a woman...?

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  16. I agree with Smek this and Robban - well done Hairy! Everyone should of course pay their TV-avgift, which most definitely is to be prefererd over ads. Not only do we get Melodifestivalen, we also get excellent sports coverage when there's something major going on, like the Olympics, Football World Cup, alpine skiing... And not to be forgotten - it was SVT who gave us the Macahans ("How The West Was Won"), and I'm not sure all the money in the world will be thank you enough for that! I'm however still quite upset about them no longer producing and airing "Dokument utifrån".

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  17. You dont need to pay anything to be able to tune in SVT. You are always able to tune in SVT1, SVT2, SVT24 etc and all the radio channels P1/P2/P3/P4.
    None of these got commercial breaks, and they arent filled with american shit. Especially the Radio channels are really great in certain areas, though i doubt alot of people actually know about it.


    And when it comes to tv, you got TV4 and TV6 aswell(though those 2 are commercial) and a few more channels.

    All of this you can tune in without having to pay anything, though by law you are supposed to pay, but most people never register themselves. You can get tricked though if you buy your TV in shops like SIBA etc, because they will automatically forward the info that you have bought a TV to Radiotjänst. Same thing if you buy a Boxer i think, in a store.






    Anyway, in my opinion i wouldnt be able to live without SVT and SR. I cant say i watch it that often, (usually dont watch tv that much, if i wanna see a Tv show like Entourage i just download it or watch it in Stream on the internet) But when you do want to watch TV, SVT is golden because you got the option to skip all the commercial crap and all the filler programs/big brother/kändisdjungeln/idol etc.

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  18. @terander - i never said everyone SHOULD pay the TV-fee. It's up to them, if you ask me. If they like SVT or for some reason think that it should be kept then i think they should pay it but it's up to them.

    I totally agree with the good sports coverage, though. Not the winter sports, I hate them, but when TV4 showed the Euros in football last year I was really disappointed. All those constant commercial breaks and that weasel Patrick Ekwall talking bullshit.

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  19. Well I think you all should pay your TV-avgift so that I can keep watching SVT online from California *grin*

    Actually I believe that if you don't want to pay the fee for some reason, all you have to do is claim that you don't own a TV (or other TV device, like a tuner card I suppose). If you're OK with lying, there are no consequences as long as you avoid the Radiotjänst door-knockers. Just don't let them in.

    But I'm in favor of paying the fee anyway, as I value much of the SVT content.

    I also believe that a media company that is not dependent on advertisers has a greater ability to do investigative journalism, which is expensive but important for a free and well-informed society. Controversies make advertisers nervous, not to mention really upset if they are targeted themselves.

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  20. I suggest your next post is about how your old TV finally gave up and how much healthier you're going to be now that you can spend your evening talking long walks about town and how much fun it was to call all the way to Kiruna to let them know you don't own a TV anymore. *wink*

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  21. paying money for crap!? i don't think so, well actually the first time i got the letter i got pretty pumped up since i though it's an invitation for talk show ;)) later when i found what it was i had a welcome to Sverige moment. but anyway since i didn't have any TV so i didn't need to think about oh my God what should i do!

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  22. If we pay Comhem for cable/broadband service, is this avgift on top of that? I just had to pay 180kr on top of our normal bill, and was told it was a mandatory fee every 6 months. I can't actually *read* the faktura to see why, which is the saddest part...

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  23. Anne, those 180sek you had to pay is something comhem has made up to earn some extra cash. All they do is call it "Decoder card fee".

    And you still have to pay the TV-fee, 2058sek per year.

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  24. Oh my, but I do know the wisdom of (every once in a while) letting them wait for that which we protest. Good signal.

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  25. FYI:Sweden made the national US news today

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/09/23/stockholm.helicopter.heist/index.html

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  26. @Robban - "By the way, why is your name Michael? You're clearly a woman...?"

    Now that's rude. Her name is her name. Why are you named Robban? In the US Robban (Robin) is a girl's name, but I gather from your posts that you are male. Different names are appropriate in different cultures. Just because it doesn't fit Swedish custom does not mean it is wrong.

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  27. @Robban- I would totally watch SVT if I could understand Swedish....until then, I'm forced to watch channel 3 and the other channels that play Everybody Loves Raymond and Home Improvement episodes from 1993.... :)Though I have to admit it does help with my reading comprehension. hehe

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  28. @An American Girl - Oh, it's so wrong, baby. Swedish custom is the only right way! I just like totally hate all other cultures. How did you know? It's like you're a mind reader. Golly!

    I didn't mean to be mean or rude I was actually wondering why, since, you know, Michael is a man's name in the US, as well, and the Michael I wrote my comment too was from the US.

    My name is not Robban or Robin. It's Robert. Robban is just my nickname. Btw, are you saying Batman's assistent is a woman? That would explain a lot...

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  29. @Abby - Oh, I see. I feel for you. you should be able to get some dispensation or something.

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  30. @Robban - You proved my point exactly. Names are not as gender-defined in the US as they are in Sweden. Yes, Michael is mostly a boys name, but it is not totally unusual to see a girl named Michael. Or a boy named Terry. Or a cartoon-character sidekick with ambiguous sexually named Robban. (I think you are right - that does explain a lot about Batman and Robban's relationship.)

    That is one of the things I have always thought was a bit ironic about Sweden. You (Svenssons, not you specifically) are very big on equality of the sexes, yet names are clearly defined as male names or female names. Just an interesting difference. In the US, we also do not have a government board overseeing what parents name their children. You can name your kid whatever you want. It is not at all uncommon to for parents to give a girl a "boys" name.

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  31. @An American Girl - Yeah, kind of interesting but don't expect it to be like that much longer, the feminists will surely change that. Actually, believe it or not, a woman was actually, just recently, allowed to change her second name to Sven (http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/09/23/stockholm.helicopter.heist/index.html).

    P.S. There are actually a few unisex names in Sweden, as well. Like Kim, for example. And that's it... That's the only unisex name in Sweden...

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  32. "The feminists"? hehe, what. You mean Gudron Schyman and her gang? there arent that many of those around really, unless you want to name most of swedish people feminists. Just like the swedish right, is pretty much the american left in politics.

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  33. I don't miss having to pay the NHK man (Japanese equivalent of the TV-avgift man I suppose). And they always come at night.

    I would have felt too guilty not to pay anyway. Didn't want to feel like the foreigner leeching off Japan. And I actually did enjoy the news and a few dramas so the 2750yen fee wasn't bad every 2 months.

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  34. @Anonymous - I mean people like you! You should be ashamed of yourself!

    Seriously, though, I was half joking half meaning what I said there. i meant the kind of feminists who fights for their "rights". You know the kind. I'm not talking about actual rights here. I'm talking about the women who wants women to have everything men has but not the opposite.

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  35. In Germany the fee is considerably higher and I dint even get original language but dubbed crap.
    Important to know though. If you leave Sweden don't just stop paying, you really have cancel directly with Radiotjäbat or you will get in debt.

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  36. I always get annoyed with people who avoid paying their TV license because that means the rest of US have to pay more. People who don't have kids contribute to the running of daycare and schools, people who don't drive contribute to the building of roads, and people who aren't sick contribute in helping the ill. This is the basis of the Swedish system. Of course there will be those who cheat it, but these people are not a positive. If more and more people continue avoiding to pay the TV tax funding for SVT will have to start coming from income tax instead.

    "Robban said...
    Sure, SVT airs crap too but at least it's SWEDISH crap. So you know the TV-fee money is used for something. I mean without SVT we would lose a lot of our own culture, sure a lot of it's crap but it's OUR crap and not some American crap.."
    Yes, this is actually a big part of it. The brainless sheep of the masses love re-runs of opera from the 90's. It's also very cheap to screen these programmes. And that's what you'll get when you stop funding SVT. SVT is also basically the only channel which airs programmes and shows in Swedish. I know my grandmother would have a panic attack if her Swedish shows weren't available since she can't read subtitles well.

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  37. So you pay the state to pour drivel in your brain. Or you congratulate yourself on not paying and still receiving the drivel in the brain. It is unpersuasive to see positive in either path, since brain drivel closes the end of both paths. Hairy Swede, your time is finite, your sands are running through the glass, the hours and SEK you lavish on the destruction of your intellect and the loss of what you might have created in that time are irretrievable.

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  38. "God may be watching you, but he can not watch Swedish TV" - From a booklet about Sweden, about how boring TV is. - I also remember something like "Despite all the SVT programmes about safety and health, death ratio in Sweden is still 100%"... ;)

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  39. Go watch Opera instead then!

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  40. I really dropped the ball on responding to all of these. I blame my vacation. But it was fun to read them anyway. I will say though that if you have any sort of tuner card, like most computers do, you are supposed to pay the fee. That is how they get the internet watchers.

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  41. I used to pay but when i got in serious financial troubles with unemployment and stuff I decided I wasn't gonna pay until society gives me a break. As for now I live in a student apartment that is so far from everywhere that I feel I should be compensated for having to live where I live. And you can say whatever you want about that, but the system takes care of itself. Since I live where I live I can be certain no one from Radiotjänst will ever come here to check on me anyway. Some justice.

    As far as the whole idea of the system, I think people should pay if they can afford it (that is, have an income of roughly 7000 excluding tax and upwards).

    The most interesting part is how people who are critical of SVT claim to speak for "the people" when they say that people wanna watch low-quality programmes. It's bullshit. SVT airs some good series, be it American or Swedish, documentaries etc. It has an unjustly bad reputation.

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  42. SVT does have good some stuff, but I think my problem is that people are essentially forced to pay this tax. Granted plenty of people don't. But I'm sure there are people who would willingly skip the yearly fee to not have those channels. And those people do not get that chance.

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  43. The system is stupid and unfair. It should be on the taxes instead. Now those who lie and say that they don't have a TV get a free ride, but on the other hand, the system is intrusive (nobody's business whether I have a TV or not) and unfair in all sorts of ways. You can watch TV on the internet, or on a cell phone, and what about if you only watch commercial channels? What about if you don't want to use your TV this year? (Legally, you must pay even if you wrap up your TV and place it in the basement...) You actually have to get rid of your TV to get a break (while in order not having to pay car tax, all you have to do is to deregister it). It would make the top ten of what is wrong in Sweden, I say, as a Swede.

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  44. oh wow... I didn't know that you actually had to get rid of the entire TV. That is a little ridiculous.

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  45. Speaking of TV-avgift, you should watch these:
    http://www.resume.se/nyheter/2009/11/20/svenskt-rekord-i-flashmob/

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  46. that is amazing. I love flash mobs.

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  47. TV fee?!

    This is how it works...

    If you buy/own a TV you're by law obligated to pay the Swedish agency Radiotjänst (Radio service)that controls the TV fees.
    The Radiotjänt then uses this money to finance the public service companies.
    There is 3 companies, Sveriges Television, Sveriges Radio and Utbildnings Radion (Education Radio).
    Since all these companies are financed by the Swedish people there is no advertising what so ever.

    Sveriges Television (SVT) have 8 TV channels: SVT1, SVT2, SVTB (for children), Kunskapskanalen (Education channel - in cooperation with Utbildningsradion), SVT1 HD, SVT2 HD, SVT24 (mainly a news channel), SVT World (for Swedes living abroad) and SVT Play (a internet channel that you can access for free through the SVT homepage).
    There is also many local news channels.

    Sveriges Radio (SR) have 4 main channels:
    P1, P2, P3 and P4. All can be access through the internet just like the TV channels. And there is also many local channels.

    Utbildningsradion (Education radio) don't have any own channels, instead they broadcast through SVT and SR.

    There is also 2 commercial TV channels TV4 and TV6, but they are not owned by SVT. There is also many commercial radio stations in Sweden that's not owned by SR.

    The Swedish goverment have no direct influence over these public service companies and they can't cencor anything or decide what to broadcast or not.

    Therefore the Swedish TV and Radio channels can investigate the goverment and any agency or company and criticize freely, wich they also often do.

    The Swedish TV and Radio are proud of their independence, and if the goverment tried to censor/control the broadcast in any way there would be a massive scandal.

    And for all this they have charge a small fee to be able to pay for everything. Without this fee they would have to get money from advertising, and then their independence would be gone.

    The channels I have listed (except TV4 and TV6) are the only ones that you pay for when paying the TV fee.

    All other channels broadcasting in Sweden are owned by either Canal Digital or Viasat. And these channels cost the same or more than the ordinary TV fee, even though they are commercial channels?!

    So if you want more TV channels than the SVT can offer, you have to subscribe to either Canal Digital or Viasat. And yes you still have to pay the ordinary TV fee.

    I think it's a small price to pay for these quality channels, but that's just me // The Foreigner

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  48. of course you could also have private tv channels that can investigate the government that dont need to rely on my money to do so.

    I would much rather have the choice of paying for channels like viasat for example, than being forced into it.

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  49. I still don't think that a private/advertising-funded channel can be totaly neutral. Their sponsors can force them to censor or promote certain things.

    And who cares about "Idol", "Big Brother", game shows and comedy shows etc.

    The most important thing is that the news programs are true, and not manipulated in any way.

    You have said Hairy that you like people who read books and so do I.
    But I also like people who follow the news, and I believe that it's every human's right to get accurate and neutral news.

    Don't you agree?

    And an American channel like the FOX News would never ever investigate or criticize the Republic Party just beacuse it's a republican channel.

    And if someone only watch the Fox News (or a similar channel) for information he or she will get a very strange perspective on things.

    The tax funded TV channels in Sweden eliminates this problem.
    There are many advertising-funded channels in Sweden, but luckily they can't go all crazy and copy Fox News. Beacuse nobody would belive them if what they say would go against what SVT says.

    Beacuse everybody in Sweden knows that SVT have no hidden agenda, they don't promote any political party or any companies.

    The advertising-funded channels in Sweden are good at showing accurate news, and that's only thanks to SVT.

    Well, I guess that no Americans will change their opinion in this matter.

    You Americans have been taught to believe that the government is evil and that they want to control you in every way they can.

    It's the same thing with health care, you guys lets them control everything with tax money (the police, the firebrigade, the military, the postal service etc). But for some strange reason you seem to believe that if they controled your health care then they would just take all of your money and then dump your sick body out in the street.

    I know it's hard to understand for you, but the Swedish government does not control the people... the government is controlled by the people.

    You also seem to have forgotten the fact that there were people from Europe who colonized both North and South America, then came people from all over the world and built up your diversity.

    Your ancestors came from either Europe, Africa or Asia.

    Perhaps you should think about it before you talk a lot of shit about the old world.

    As a country, you are still only a child, a rude child.
    Your parents are old and not so strong as they once were, so they can not punish you for your behavior.

    And that you use in your favor on your parents' expense.
    But now your little cousin China has grown up and is stronger than ever.

    And there will be a battle over who should control the world, and the only thing your parents can do is to stand aside and watch this madness.

    It's probably the reason why people in the old world does not like you, you show them no respect. Without them America had not existed, but you make it sound as if it's the opposite.

    I'm a quarter of American, a quarter of African and half European and I have lived many years in eastern Russia near China.
    And my big passion in life is to travel, so I have seen the world and knows what I´m talking about (in most cases).

    And nowhere else have I seen democracy work so well as it does in Scandinavia.

    Money and work are not the first priority for them... quality of life is the most important thing.

    //I know I strayed away from the topic, sorry for that Hairy//


    Dum vivimus, vivamus // The Foreigner.

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  50. I am constantly amazed by this line of reasoning that by simply disagreeing with one point of the way Sweden is run, it becomes a commentary on the entire democratic process.

    I have never once said the Swedish democracy does not work. It is actually possible to understand (and yes, even from an American perspective I am capable of understanding despite your opinion to the contrary) and respect something while still disagreeing with parts of it.

    The line of reasoning that the US is young and therefore should bow down to Europe is an outdated argument that carries no water. It would be the same as if I said Europe owes America because of the American involvement in the war. The ridiculousness that is the European attitude of superiority is exhausting.

    By the way, you are kidding yourself if you truly believe SVT is a completely neutral and unbiased news source.

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  51. SVT not neautral, how do you mean?
    The management even criticize themselves sometimes. And you must have seen the shows "Debatt", "Agenda", "Uppdrag granskning" etc. and they are not afraid of raising their voices if they see that something is wrong within the SVT system.
    So one could say that the reporters gets paid from SVT for investigating SVT, that's good right?
    And you know that they doesn't support any political party.
    What more can you ask from a news channel?

    What I wrote about the democracy in Sweden was only my own comment, it wasn't a response to something that you have said.

    What I said about Americas youth and the lack of respect towards Europe is true. And the fact that Europe is old and weak and that they believe that they are superior compared to America is also true.

    This is the root of all problems between the "new world and the "old world".

    I may have sounded a little anti-USA in my last post and I'm sorry for that. I don't believe that everything is Americas fault in this "conflict" between America and Europe, for of course have Europe a parts in it as well.

    With that being said, I still think that America could have done things better in many areas.
    But America has a habit of doing things without asking, and if they ask but they doesn't like the answer then they do what they want anyway.
    And this behavior doesn't help the relations with Europe, who feels powerless and humiliated.
    The main reason to why the European nations founded the EU is beacuse they though that if they were united they would become equal to America.

    This vision hasn't been realized yet, because after thousands of years of warfare between the countries has left deep wounds that will not heal so quickly.
    But I think they are on the right track.

    I also believe that China's growing wealth and power will help to unite America with Europe.

    The fact that USA will become "only" the second largest economy in the world after China, will probably help the Americans to understand how the Europeans have felt during the last hundred years.

    You said Hairy "The line of reasoning that the US is young and therefore should bow down to Europe is an outdated argument that carries no water." that wasn't what I meant. I want America and Europe to be equal.

    America should stop flexing it's muscles as soon as someone speaks critically of the country, or doesn't behave as they want.

    And Europe should stop with the superior attitude they have, and try to cooperate with America.

    We are all brothers and sister in this world the only difference is that the brothers and sisters in Sweden pays a TV fee.

    Dixi et salvavi animam meam // The Foreigner

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  52. "What I said about Americas youth and the lack of respect towards Europe is true."

    Sorry, wrote a bit wrong in the previous post, I did not mean America's youth, but the actual age of the country.

    My English is getting worse and worse, unfortunately...


    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur // The Foreigner

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  53. Network news is not neutral. Regardless of funding there is always an angle. Some, like Fox news, are overtly angled, others, like SVT are less so. But it is there. The shining example that I always come back to is SVTs coverage of the US election. Very seldom have I seen such blatant disregard for neutrality from a news agency.

    In terms of the America vs Europe thing, I definitely agree. The US has a habit of forgetting about other countries. That happens for a variety of reasons, everything from the sheer size of the country to a sometimes nationalistic attitude.

    I definitely do agree with you though that as other countries grow stronger (China for example) it will move others to recognize the international scope of just about everything we do and the need for better cooperation and stronger ties.

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  54. Okay, I also saw the SVT's coverage of the US election.
    And yes I agree with you that they could have done it better.

    But don't forget that Sweden have more in common with the Democratic party than the Republican party.
    And before Obama came along we have had 8 disastrous years with Bush.

    And like the rest of the European countries Sweden didn't like Bush.
    Hate is a strong word, but I think it's the best word too describe the feeling we had in Europe regarding him and his way of doing things.

    With Obama there's hope for the relations between USA and Europe.

    And he is BLACK! Wow, that's incredible (in a good way).
    If he had been just another white guy, then I don't think nobody would have cared in Europe.

    This wasn't just big news in Sweden, the hole world was watching. And Obama was the star.

    So okay the coverage wasn't so neutral as it should have been, but come on this was the first election with a black man.

    I guess you Americans had the same feeling.

    With that said, I still think that SVT is one of the world most neutral TV-stations in the world along with NRK, DR and YLE.

    // The Foreigner

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  55. but see that us exactly my point, sweden has more in common with the deomcrats and so svt gave the people what they wanted, more coverage of the deomcrats. that is not neutrality.

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  56. But don't forget that this election was an American election, not a Swedish one.

    I think that we can forgive them for this reason, but had it been a Swedish election... then it had been an outrage.

    And what I meant by saying that Sweden have more in common with the Democratic party, was that it was the reason that all Swedes were interested in the election.

    If there had been two old white guys like normal, then nobody would have cared.

    But now there was a black man running for president, SVT would have given him a lot of TV-time even if he had been a republican (but luckily he isn't).

    And I guess that American TV doesn't show very much of the elections in UK, France or Germany etc.

    Then you might argue that these countries are too far away, and doesn't have so much to do with America and therefore it's okay.

    Well, do they broadcast/or give some information about the Canadian election or the Mexican etc.

    SVT did a mistake with the American election (not a big one but still...) but you can't say that they are not neutral just because of this single incident.

    That's like saying that Peter Forsberg (I know you like him) isn't a good hockey player just because he didn't make a single goal in one game. It doesn't matter if he have made 150 goals in the previous games, he didn't make a goal in this game and is therefore not a good hockey player.


    //The Foreigner

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  57. Somehow I missed responding to this one. Sorry about that.

    Anyway, the fact that it is an American election should have nothing to do with it if the press is truly neutral. Then all sides should be presented. Just because it is international news does not make it ok to lean one way or the other politically.

    And watching the international news of SVT, there are plenty of opportunities to criticize their neutrality. The election was just a very obvious example.

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  58. What I don't understand is why I have to watch so incredible much commercials and still pay a tv bill. That is what annoys me the most. Most of the time, I don't even finish watching a movie because of the 10 minutes commercials that start every 10 minutes. In Holland where I am from, we have commercials as well but because of that, tv is free. No bills.

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  59. a good question that I just cant answer. because I agree.

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