Because he did not want to pay the radio license fee, Georg Thiel was imprisoned for six months. But nothing has changed in his refusal since then.
Borken (North Rhine-Westphalia) – The radio license fee, today still often referred to colloquially as the GEZ contribution, affects almost every citizen in Germany. Few are exempt from payments, such as those receiving social benefits. Georg Thiel does not receive any social benefits, but has refused to pay for years – and even went to jail for it.
The man who had to go to jail for six months because of his GEZ refusal *, explained his motives in a conversation with Focus Online. He called for more justice, spoke of a “terrible scandal” and described his imprisonment as a “child’s birthday”.
Radio license fee as “compulsory levy”: Georg Thiel already went to prison
Before the corona* -Pandemie he often played as a DJ and enjoyed going to clubs and festivals. Despite his love for music, he says he doesn’t own a radio or a television set. Because he “doesn’t need” them, Thiel told Focus Online. Because when it comes to the radio license fee, EUR 18.36 per month, Georg Thiel sees it as a “compulsory levy”.
But whether you have receiving devices or not does not matter. Since 2013, all households in Germany have to pay the license fee, regardless of the number of devices and the actual use. This does not apply to people who receive social or unemployment benefits. If you refuse the payments like Thiel, debt collection companies quickly get in touch who want to collect the money. If a debtor then refuses to disclose his or her own assets and explain the financial situation, there is even a risk of imprisonment.
This happened with Georg Thiel after he owed the WDR several hundred euros. He served six months in prison in the Münster correctional facility. “The time in prison was definitely exciting, something completely new for me. I imagined everything to be much worse, ”said Thiel. The whole thing was “like a child’s birthday” for the GEZ refuser.
Thiel still pays no radio license fee: “I fight for justice”
As a technical draftsman, Thiel would have the money for the monthly radio contributions, but he was interested in the principle. “If nothing changes in the system, then I would probably get locked up again,” said the 54-year-old from Borken. Behind the radio license there is “a cartel”, consisting of “broadcaster officials, politicians and judges” who all work “hand in hand”. He will soon be “probably sentenced to life” because he is not paying any fees as a “non-user”.
Thiel went even further and was frustrated with the situation: “In 2021, in a highly developed industrialized country that even calls itself democratic, people will be put in jail for not paying a license fee – you have to dissolve that on your tongue permit! It is a terrible scandal! “It has nothing to do with democratic diversity,” if all citizens are forced to pay for a media company. “
In jail, the man received countless expressions of sympathy. More than 1100 letters from supporters and GEZ opponents, who are “fed up with the state”, were addressed to him. “I fight for justice,” Thiel told Focus Online. In the conversation, however, he made it clear that he was not in favor of abolishing the broadcasting fee, but rather a “system of just and fair financing”.
Radio license fee: Georg Thiel calls for higher fees for top earners
It is not fair that single mothers or low-wage earners have to pay the same amounts as, for example, “the highly paid constitutional judges in Karlsruhe who only recently confirmed the radio license fee.” Rather, the costs must be linked to the income, according to Thiel. “Every citizen should make a contribution within the scope of his financial means.”
As a non-user, he would “like to contribute six euros a month so that all the poor people who are exempt from the fees can use television and radio for free”. Top earners, on the other hand, should “pay around 0.5 percent of their income.” Since his income is below the seizure allowance of 1260 euros, the state cannot access Georg Thiel’s money. Since he did not have anything valuable either, the bailiff was “always warmly welcome” to him.
Problems with the A woman from Melsungen also had radio license fees*, which is why her property was almost seized. (Nail Akkoyun) * hna.de and merkur.de are offers from IPPEN.MEDIA.
List of rubric lists: © Christoph Hardt / Imago