Dutch parliament backs motion on RNW

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The Lower House of the Dutch parliament has backed a motion from the social-liberal party D66 calling on the government to conduct an investigation into the viability of Radio Netherlands Worldwide RNW.

The motion notes that the role of RNW has been partially overtaken by technological developments. Parliament now wants the government to investigate what tasks should be scrapped and what tasks can be transferred to other existing organisations.

In response, the minister responsible for the media, Marja van Bijsterveldt, said that the government sees the motion as "support for its policy.” Earlier it was announced that RNW will in future be financed from the budget for Development Cooperation, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Currently, RNW is funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The transition should take place in 2013. "Before the summer of 2011, the Cabinet will inform the House how RNW and its tasks will be shaped," said the minister.

The coalition agreement states that RNW should focus on its core business, without defining precisely what that is. The current tasks, included in the media law, are: informing Dutch nationals abroad, the provision of independent information in countries with limited press freedom, and presenting a realistic picture of the Netherlands for people abroad.

The management of RNW is confident about the future. Editor-in-Chief Rik Rensen said: "The vast majority of our journalistic activity is focused on foreign countries. We operate in ten languages and thus cover large parts of the world where people are desperate for our information. And as it happens, the Dutch economy is almost entirely dependent on foreign countries."



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