Culture minister quits over TV fees

Swedish broadcasting minister ankles

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s minister of culture has resigned 10 days after she was appointed. Cecilia Stego Chilo’s decision came after she confessed that she’d not paid the TV license fee for more than 15 years.

The license is compulsory for all households with a TV set in Sweden.

A former journalist and CEO of free-market thinktank Timbro, Stego Chilo’s responsibilities as culture minister included public service broadcasters, whose main source of funding is the annual fee of $203 per household.

Last week, the day after her non-payment was revealed by the Swedish media, Stego Chilo met with the heads of pubcasters Swedish Television and Swedish Radio and halved the companies’ six-year broadcasting permits to three years.

Stego Chilo was subsequently reported to the police by Radiotjanst, the authority collecting TV charges nationwide, for not paying her fees.

After her resignation, Stego Chilo said in a statement that her misdemeanor nonpayment of the TV license, in combination with her having hired nannies without paying employer’s taxes, was “not acceptable.”

Stego Chilo’s resignation follows that of trade minister Maria Borelius, who quit over allegations of tax irregularities last Saturday.

A new minister of culture should be appointed in the next few weeks.

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