As you have no doubt seen, last Friday's announcement by the Dutch government about the future of RNW was received here with shock. There are still a lot of details to be announced, not least of which is the size of the budget that we will receive from the Foreign Ministry as from 1 January 2013.On Monday many of my colleagues will travel to The Hague for the parliamentary debate on the Cabinet's proposals for public broadcasting. The Dutch department, which is threatened with total closure, will be broadcasting special programming between 0600 and 1200 UTC on 27 June. It will involve members of all ten current language departments, but all speaking in Dutch.The programming will be available via Internet and satellite on RNW2, and portions will also be carried on shortwave according to the regular schedule. In The Hague a special FM licence has been issued for this broadcast. Further details will be published on our website and in the Weblog during the next few days. Here's a summary of what was announced by the Cabinet, and reaction to it:RNW will no longer provide information for Dutch people living abroad, nor be responsible for providing a realistic image of the Netherlands to the rest of the world. RNW will concern itself solely with providing information in countries where free speech is suppressed or threatened.The cuts to RNW are part of a widespread austerity programme the current government is implementing to bring the national budget into balance. In the wake of cuts to higher education, the arts and defence, the government today announced a reorganisation of the entire public broadcasting system.As part of that reorganisation, RNW will no longer fall under the media budget, but will become the responsibility of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. That move is scheduled to take place on 1 January 2013. Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal confirmed the focus on free speech and press freedom for Radio Netherlands Worldwide:"Radio Netherlands Worldwide will concern itself with free speech under Foreign Affairs starting in 2013. I will not say anything else about it right now."Mr Rosenthal explained that, since RNW will remain part of the media budget next year, he does not want to step on his fellow minister's toes. The exact financial consequences of this limiting of RNW's activities are not yet known. Parliament must still approve the cabinet's planned cuts. No detail has been given about the extent of future budget cuts. The lower house of parliament will debate the cabinet proposals on 27 June. During his press conference after the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Mark Rutte praised the work RNW has done: "Radio Netherlands Worldwide will limit itself to one role, promoting free speech. I think the other tasks Radio Netherlands Worldwide performs are nice, valuable, but not enough to finance them with public money."In reaction to the news from The Hague, former foreign minister Bernard Bot, chairman of the RNW Supervisory board, said: "I find this Cabinet decision incomprehensible for a government whose foreign policy should serve the long-term interests of the Netherlands and the Dutch." RNW Director-General Jan Hoek echoed the feelings of Mr Bot: "This is an incomprehensible and sad decision. The Ministry has chosen the easy way out by passing one quarter of the cuts in Public Broadcasting (two hundred million euros) in its entirety to one organization - RNW."RNW Editor-in-Chief Rik Rensen said: "Our country is known as an important and reliable trading nation. Radio Netherlands Worldwide is making a unique contribution in ten languages 24 hours a day. For tens of millions of people around the world, RNW is an important source of information and a journalistic calling card for the Netherlands. Is our country really going back behind the dikes? "
24 giugno 2011
Radio Nederland, ridimensionamento che sa di chiusura
Il governo conservatore olandese ha deciso una radicale riforma dell'emittenza radiotelevisiva pubblica che include il probabile smantellamento del broadcaster internazionale Radio Nederland (trasmissioni in dieci lingue). L'organismo che oggi percepisce oltre 130 milioni di euro dovrebbe passare nel bilancio del ministero degli esteri e subire un drastico taglio. In previsione la sospensioni delle trasmissioni in olandese e la riconversione a struttura adibita alla copertura di "geografie a rischio". Radio Nederland potrebbe lasciare le onde corte quasi completamente e continuerà a operare come emittente "ad hoc" rivolta alle aree critiche sul piano governativo e militare, dove è necessario supplire alla mancanza di altre fonti informative.
La discussione parlamentare sul piano del governo è prevista per lunedì, quando Radio Nederland organizzerà tutta una serie di eventi, inclusa una trasmissione speciale in FM. Ecco il messaggio dell'emittente:
Ma il piano del governo olandese riguarda l'intero assetto mediatico dei Paesi Bassi, che è estremamente complesso (in questo mio post di qualche tempo fa trovate qualche spiegazione fornita da David De Jong, giornalista italonederlandese). Jonathan Marks lo analizza in questo post su Critical Distance, una lettura che vi consiglio perché contiene molte considerazioni interessanti sul ruolo di un broadcaster pubblico nell'era della crossmedialità partecipativa e la necessità di stabilire un organo di controllo che possa anche svolgere la funzione di ponte tra i cittadini, i consumatori (e sempre più spesso produttori) dei contenuti, e le emittenti finanziate dal canone o dalla fiscalità.