RTP Austerity Plan Must Not Harm Quality of Output

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The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) welcomes a move to shelve the privatization of its Portuguese Member RTP, but urges Lisbon to prioritize the quality of the broadcaster’s output in its planned restructure.

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Portuguese Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Miguel Relvas revealed on RTP1’s Telejornal news programme on 24 January that the unpopular privatization plan would not go ahead – for now.

Portuguese media were reporting that more than 600 of RTP’s 2,069 staff – a third of the total – could be cut over the next two years under what Relvas called an “ambitious, demanding, painful” restructure.

EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre, who last September described privatization of Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP) as “reckless”, said the government must protect the public broadcaster’s ability to serve the Portuguese public.

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“Efficiency savings are a necessary evil in many countries, and many EBU Members are facing financial difficulties,” Ms Deltenre said.“ But when times are hard people turn more than ever to their public service broadcaster for reliable, quality information and news.”

RTP’s Executive Board released a statement today affirming its commitment to becoming “a good example of public service” through the government’s “profound restructure and modernization” of the company.

It also said that from 2014 RTP will no longer receive state subsidies, but will be funded solely from the audiovisual fee levied via electricity bills, plus advertising.

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Mr Deltenre said: “It is encouraging to see that the Portuguese government has committed to creating a modern, future-proof public service broadcaster, while conceiving what appears to be a realistic funding strategy.”

She added that the EBU stood by its offer to provide the Portuguese government with its in-depth knowledge of the various public media systems in Europe, and that the Union would gladly give any advice, assistance and expertise necessary to preserve RTP as a true public broadcaster in the European tradition.

About the European Broadcasting Union (EBU)
The EBU is the world's foremost alliance of public service media organizations, with Members in 56 countries in Europe and beyond.
The EBU's mission is to defend the interests of public service media and to promote their indispensible contribution to modern society. It is the point of reference for industry knowledge and expertise.
The EBU operates EUROVISION and EURORADIO.
EUROVISION is the media industry's premier distributor and producer of top quality live sport and news, as well as entertainment, culture and music content.
EURORADIO enhances public service radio through the exchange of music, professional networking and the promotion of digital and hybrid radio – to ensure radio remains a key protagonist in a multimedia world.
The EUROVISION / EURORADIO satellite and fibre network is the largest and most reliable in the world directly plugged in to public service media everywhere.

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