Monthly subscription for Radio Television of Serbia will be abolished, and the public service will go to funding from the national budget, reported Serbian daily “Danas” in May 2013.
As the daily was told at the time, Vucic notified those involved in drafting the law on electronic media that the subscription should be abolished and that no new taxes should be introduced to citizens, but that the public service will be financed from the budget until a better solution is found.
“TV subscription, as I promised to the citizens of Serbia, will be abolished, because I do not belong to the type of people who have deceived citizens of Serbia for 12 years and dealt only with marketing tricks. It is our obligation which we will not give up,” wrote then First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia on Twitter.
Then First Deputy Prime Minister and President of Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), Aleksandar Vucic, was also against the proposition to charge the RTS subscription through the slips for property tax, it was then told by the SNS.
One year later
“Blic” reported that all the citizens of Serbia will have to pay 500 dinars for TV subscription, at the cost to have private bailiffs to impound property in case of not paying it.
The daily writes that this is how the new way of charging the subscription fee will look like, as designed by the Ministry of Finance. How it will look in reality revealed a source for “Blic” from the Ministry.
“The new tax for the public service will be charged starting from January 1 2016. Until then RTS will be financed from the budget and from the current fee through electricity bills. The new tax will be charged by sending invoice at 500 dinars to 2.55 million households in Serbia that have a meter for electricity [but maybe no TV - V.S.] each month, which will have to be paid,” said the source.
Payment of subscription for RTS, whose abolishion was promised by the SNS, is now a request by the EU, which wants Serbia to stop financing public service from the national budget.
“We have decided to introduce tax for RTS because this type of collection saves public service from making contract with each user individually. Further, fee is a tax category now and RTS will be entitled even to seize property of the people who are not paying. And third, the money from the tax will go directly to RTS, not to EPS first as it is now,” said the source.
When asked how will RTS seize the property of those who do not pay 500 dinars, the official said that “private bailiffs” will do it for RTS.
SNS: It is not true, they are lying
Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) said today that reports in the media, about citizens having to pay subscription for public service in the amount of 500 dinars, at the cost of having private bailiffs seizing their property if they don’t, are false.
The truth is, says SNS, that the Ministry of Culture and Information, at the proposal of the State Secretary Sasa Mirkovic, crated a draft which, among other things, contains such terms, but the party stressed that the draft did not come [yet] on the agenda of the government, and let alone before the members of the Parliament.
The party expressed understanding that certain media want to be exclusive in their writing and added that, unfortunately, the information presented is not true, and the citizens were deceived and confused.
Deceived and confused? Let’s summarize
- Aleksandar Vucic said in May 2013 that “he does not belong to the type of people who deceive the citizens of Serbia” and announced that RTS subscription will be abolished.
- In June 2014 we learn that RTS subscription will not be abolished but that Vucic has decided, allegedly at the request by the EU, that it will have to be paid under the threat of confiscation of property.
- Vucic’s party SNS says that the news on the subscription is not true because:
- Member of SNS did write a draft according to which RTS subscription will not be abolished
- The draft is yet to come on the agenda of the government (which mainly constitutes of SNS)
- And it is yet to come before the Parliament (which mainly constitutes of SNS)
And consequently the citizens are confused and deceived because it is obvious that the problematic draft will never come to life.