(The following post was originally posted on http://www.carlteglund.blogspot.com October 12 2006)
In Sweden we have television programmes that are propped up by public funds (A/N television taxes). They are state owned and all commercial activity within these public services is banned. Therefore, the board in charge of all public service in Sweden, announce their service as “free”. I could not disagree more. There are very often programmes depicting United States wrongly and showing films by Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore unbiased. Moreover, as they are announcing themselves as free, they also say that they are able to be biased. The fact is that the board in charge of public service is a retreat position for worn-out politicians in Sweden (mostly, of course, from parties that support public service, namely the left-wing parties).
Let’s say, for instance, that the state would take out special kind of taxes for mail-boxes just for protecting a state-owned newspaper. Then it would be no doubt that it would be an attack on freedom of speech, but the fact is that the difference is just slight or none at all.
The whole basic idea with BBC, SVT and other kind of public service instances are that they should be funded by everyone, for anyone. But, as we all now, we are all individuals and have different tastes of choice when it comes to music, movies and documentaries. It cannot be right to pay for a service that you wish not to use. It would be like paying for a cab and then not using it afterwards. Even worse, to check up that every citizen within Sweden are paying their television-tax, the state control all television sets that are bought within Sweden, then calling the buyers, forcing them to pay.
Television in Sweden can never be “free” until the television-tax is abolished. Do not pay it!