Myth: The European Commission’s Commissioner for Audiovisual Affairs, Joao de Deus Pinheiro, is considering banning licence fees across Europe as they are in effect illegal subsidies or “state aids” incompatible with the running of the Single Market.
Source: Broadcast magazine (29 September 1994)
Response: Commissioner Pinheiro is not considering banning licence fees.
Nevertheless it is true that the Commission has been approached by private operators from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, and has been asked to investigate whether state-funded broadcasters can compete on an equal footing with privately-owned broadcasters for advertising revenue. In accordance with this, two directorates, DGX (responsible for audiovisual affairs) and DGIV (competition policy), are presently investigating the sources of TV financing. However the Commission has not adopted any position on this issue.