EBU welcomes no-privatisation move for RTP

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has welcomed a move to abandon the privatisation of its Portuguese member, RTP, but is urging Lisbon to prioritise the quality of the broadcaster’s output in the planned restructure.

Portuguese Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Miguel Relvas revealed on RTP1’s Telejornal news programme that the privatisation plan would not go ahead – for now. Portuguese media has since reported that more than a third of RTP’s staff could be cut over the next two years under what Relvas called an “ambitious, demanding, painful” restructure.

EBU director general Ingrid Deltenre reminded the government to protect the public broadcaster’s ability to serve the Portuguese public. “Efficiency savings are a necessary evil in many countries, and many EBU Members are facing financial difficulties,” said Deltenre. “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 has released its own statement affirming its commitment to becoming “a good example of public service” through the government’s “profound restructure and modernisation” of the company.

Deltenre notes: “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 give any advice, assistance and expertise necessary to preserve RTP as a true public broadcaster in the European tradition.

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