VVD calls for deeper budget cuts in media

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The ruling conservative VVD party is planning to cut an additional 200 million euros in the public broadcasting budget, the deputy chair of the parliamentary party says.

Speaking on television, Anouchka van Miltenburg said the budget cuts that have already been agreed are insufficient. Under the existing plan, starting in 2015 Dutch public media will have their budgets cut by 200 million euros.

“The broadcasters say the planned budget cuts do not affect the quality of their programmes. That means the budget cuts can be carried out with relative ease,” Ms Van Miltenburg said in an interview. Only further budget cuts will force them to make choices, she argued.

“Right from the beginning people have said that the budget cuts will not lead to the elimination of any channel. If everything is going to stay as it was, apparently we have to cut the budget even more in order to force them to make choices.”

The Netherlands has three public TV channels and six public radio stations that are shared by 20 national broadcasters and a few dozen regional and local broadcasters.

A majority in parliament opposes calls to scrap one of the three public TV channels. “We had hoped that the budget cuts would persuade the broadcasters themselves to slim down,” the pro-business MP said.

The VVD politician wants the public broadcasters to focus on what she sees as their core tasks: providing news and background stories and offering programmes on art and culture in the widest possible sense of the word, including mass entertainment and pop music.

Ms Van Miltenburg also wants the Dutch public broadcasting system to adopt the German model and include regional broadcasters on nationals channels. Under this model, each region first airs the national public news broadcast and then continues with its own regional programming.

As of 2013, Radio Netherlands Worldwide will see its budget reduced from 46 million euros to 14 million euros, which is expected to result in redundancies for some two thirds of its staff.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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