Tuesday, January 29, 2013

RTP austerity plan must not harm quality of output

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) today welcomes a move to shelve the privatization of its Portuguese Member RTP, but urges Lisbon to prioritize the quality of the broadcaster’s output in its planned restructure.

Portuguese Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Miguel Relvas revealed on RTP1’s Telejornal news programme last night that the unpopular privatization plan would not go ahead – for now.

Portuguese media were today reporting that more than 600 of RTP’s 2,069 staff – a third of the total – could be cut over the next two years under what Relvas called an “ambitious, demanding, painful” restructure.

EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre, who last September described privatization of Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP) as “reckless”, said the government must protect the public broadcaster’s ability to serve the Portuguese public.

“Efficiency savings are a necessary evil in many countries, and many EBU Members are facing financial difficulties,” Ms Deltenre said.

“But when times are hard people turn more than ever to their public service broadcaster for reliable, quality information and news.”

RTP’s Executive Board released a statement today affirming its commitment to becoming “a good example of public service” through the government’s “profound restructure and modernization” of the company.

It also said that from 2014 RTP will no longer receive state subsidies, but will be funded solely from the audiovisual fee levied via electricity bills, plus advertising.

Mr Deltenre said: “It is encouraging to see that the Portuguese government has committed to creating a modern, future-proof public service broadcaster, while conceiving what appears to be a realistic funding strategy.”

She added that the EBU stood by its offer to provide the Portuguese government with its in-depth knowledge of the various public media systems in Europe, and that the Union would gladly give any advice, assistance and expertise necessary to preserve RTP as a true public broadcaster in the European tradition.

(Source : European Broadcasting Union)

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