70 percent off Radio Netherlands Worldwide budget
Radio Netherlands Worldwide has said the Dutch cabinet's plan to reduce its budget by 70 percent is outrageous.
General Director Jan Hoek and Editor-in-Chief Rik Rensen say the cutback is unprecedented: "In today's international world, each self-respecting country has to live up to its responsibilities. The Education and Culture Ministry OCW is making it impossible for us to do this. Without any preliminary research, nor any consultations, a decision has been taken that will leave a global audience of millions out in the cold, and will cost 250 jobs."
Former foreign minister and RNW Board of Supervisors Chairman Bernhard Bot says he is worried: "I find this cabinet plan incomprehensible, coming from a reliable administration which should be implementing long-term foreign policies serving the interests of the Netherlands and the Dutch people."
Dykes The figures announced today show that Radio Netherlands Worldwide's budget will be reduced by 70 percent, from 46 million euros to 14 million euros a year. General Director Jan Hoek says: "This radical reduction is both unnecessary and not part of the agreed government coalition programme. The Culture Ministry is opting for the cheapest solution. This is too easy a way of achieving economies in public broadcasting."
Editor-in-Chief Rik Rensen adds, "Our country wants to be known as an important and reliable trading nation. Radio Netherlands Worldwide is contributing to this, in ten languages, around the clock. Tens of millions of people all over the world consider RNW an important source of information, and the Netherlands' journalistic calling card. Is our country really retreating behind the dykes?"
Coalition agreement Announcing a decision which was planned in the government coalition accord, the cabinet announced last week that Radio Netherlands Worldwide should focus exclusively on bringing reliable and independent information to people in countries without press freedom. As a consequence, RNW will no longer provide information to Dutch citizens abroad.
RNW's own plan On 7 June Radio Netherlands Worldwide indicated it was prepared to deliver a proportional amount of the planned government economies in public broadcasting, that proportion being 22 percent of its budget and a loss of 100 jobs. General Director Jan Hoek said, "We put forward a plan outlining our new direction to the Education and Culture Ministry, but they never even responded. It is unbelievably slapdash of the minister to take such far-reaching decisions without any consultation."
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