Anchor: The government pushed ahead with the separation of licensing fees for public broadcasters, including KBS, from household electricity bills, with the Cabinet approving related ordinance revisions on Tuesday. KBS, which warned of social discord from increased collection fees, said it plans to file a complaint with the Constitutional Court.
Choi You Sun reports.
Report: The Cabinet has approved enforcement ordinance revisions separating the collection of licensing fees for the Korea Broadcasting System(KBS) and the Education Broadcasting System(EBS) from household electricity bills.
Presiding over a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said the revisions are expected to help increase public awareness of the fees and an understanding of related rights.
The prime minister said the separation was considered in response to growing discontent with the method of collection, pledging to continue paying attention to inconveniences or irrational situations faced by the public.
President Yoon Suk Yeol approved the revisions while in Lithuania for the NATO Summit.
KBS, in response, said the separation will inconvenience the public with separate remittances for electricity fares and broadcasting licensing fees, while also inducing a massive increase in collection costs, leading to social confusion and discord.
The Korea Electric Power Corporation(KEPCO) has forecast the cost of collecting fees to reach as much as 227 billion won annually, or some 175 million U.S. dollars, with the separation, a fivefold increase over the cost of collecting the fees with integrated electricity bills in 2021.
With KEPCO contending that a 30-percent fee should be levied on KBS to offset losses incurred by the power company for managing the separated collection, the two sides are expected to lock horns over burden-sharing.
The broadcaster, which argues that the change could potentially damage the foundation of public broadcasting and inflict a drastic decline in its revenue, said it will file a complaint with the Constitutional Court once the revisions are promulgated.
Since 1994, a monthly license fee of two-thousand-500 won, or under two U.S. dollars, for both KBS and EBS has been bundled with electricity bills for every household with a television receiver, with KBS taking two-thousand-261 won.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.