Radio Netherlands shaken by reports on far-reaching cuts

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Radio Netherlands Worldwide was shaken this evening by unconfirmed reports from commercial news broadcaster RTL TV that government cuts to Radio Netherlands Worldwide will leave the Netherlands' international service with less than a quarter of its budget.

In response to the reports, RNW Director General Jan Hoek says "If this is so, it appears decisions are being taken without due care. I can't imagine this happening."

Earlier today, Radio Netherlands announced plans to substantially slim down its Dutch-language service. The proposed savings in the management plans amount to 10 million euros, roughly 20 percent of the media organisations' budget. The proposed package is entitled "Free Speech, Dutch Values".

The new plans outlay a shift in focus towards providing news and information to regions where press freedom is limited. Dutch-language programming would be largely scrapped, keeping only RNW's function as an emergency broadcasting station in the event of disasters for Dutch nationals abroad.

RTL says its sources are close to the Dutch government, which is due to take decisions on public broadcasting funding in general soon. Changes in the funding of Radio Netherlands Worldwide will be part of a raft of measures.

At the moment Radio Netherlands receives 46 million euros every year for its activities, which currently include providing news and information to Dutch nationals abroad, acting as an emergency broadcasting station in case of international disasters, informing people in regions where press freedom is limited and presenting a realistic and balanced view of the Netherlands.

Read more: Radio Netherlands changes focus

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