For years Germans have had to pay specialized taxes on TVs, radios, and internet-capable devices that they used in order to fund the country’s public broadcasters, giving Germany one of the largest public broadcast budgets in the world. However in 2013 this tax was changed to a flat fee of €17.98 per month and is now a requirement for all households, regardless of whether or not they used any of the devices being taxed. The change led to the formation of an online petition hosted on Avaaz.org in December 2013, which has so far gained more than 325,000 signatures.
The petition argues that the required tax is not only unfair but also illegal as it violates the person’s right to not be forced into financing companies. Even those who are blind and/or deaf are required to pay the monthly tax. Instead, the petition urges state broadcasters to move over to pay-tv or at least an advertising model to offset the costs.
A lot more signatures will be needed though to reach the goal of 1,000,000, and not everyone is against the revised tax. Under the old model, if a household had multiple TVs, radios and computers, there would be separate charges for each device. Since a majority of modern households fall into this category, they are more than likely saving money with the flat-fee system.