(photo credit: Courtesy)
Not long ago, everyone who owned a television set had to pay a license fee to
the Israel Broadcasting Authority, whether or not they watched its Channel 1
station or, for that matter, any TV at all.
The Israeli press was replete
with horror stories about measures taken against those who didn’t pay. These
included threatening letters from lawyers, exorbitant fines and visits by
representatives of the bailiff’s office, who seized portable assets that would
not be returned until the debt was paid.
In some cases, model citizens
who paid the fee on time were hunted down by lawyers demanding payment – this
time with interest – for a debt they no longer owed.
situations, if payment was drawn out, assets that had been confiscated would
disappear without any chance of their owners reclaiming them.
according to a Ynet report, anyone with an old TV that is not attached to a
digital converter will be exempt from paying the license fee provided there
isn’t a modern set with a built-in converter on the premises.
As a result
of a class action suit against the IBA in the Jerusalem District Court, the
broadcasting network has undertaken to absolve anyone who owned an Idan Plus
converter or who was a subscriber, via television or computer, to HOT cable or
YES satellite services and therefore could not receive transmission for Channel
2, which is on a different frequency.
Moreover, those entitled to
exemptions and who had paid the fee over the past two years would receive a
The new rule went into effect in July this year.
reason for the change was that anyone who had previously used the analog
transmission, which was received via antenna, was unable to receive broadcasts
after the IBA had moved into total digital format. According to the logic, if a
television receiver was virtually useless without the attachment of a converter,
there was no point in charging a license fee.
An IBA spokesman confirmed
this information. He told The Jerusalem Pos
t on Sunday that relatively few
people would benefit from the new regulation, as the overwhelming majority of TV
owners have LED or plasma flat receivers with converters that are integral to
the product, the bottom line being that most people will still have to pay the
fee – even if they don’t watch Channel 1.