Radio Netherlands Worldwide was surprised on Tuesday evening by unconfirmed reports that government cuts will leave the Netherlands' international broadcasting service with less than a quarter of its current budget.
In response to the reports from commercial television broadcaster RTL, RNW Director General Jan Hoek said, "If this is so, it appears decisions are being taken without due care. I can't imagine this happening."
RNW staff have started a petition you can sign to support Radio Netherlands Worldwide
Earlier today, RNW announced its own proposals for the broadcaster's future, set out in a document entitled "Free Speech, Dutch Values". This would involve substantial cutbacks to RNW's Dutch-language service. The proposed savings amount to 10 million euros, roughly 20 percent of the media organisation's budget.
RNW's own plans put greater emphasis on providing news and information to regions of the world where press freedom is limited. Dutch-language programming would be largely scrapped, although RNW would continue to function as an emergency broadcasting station for Dutch nationals abroad.
RTL says its sources are close to the Dutch government, which is due to make key decisions on public broadcasting funding soon. It is presumed cutbacks to Radio Netherlands Worldwide will be one of a raft of measures.
Currently RNW receives 46 million euros from central government for its activities, which presently include news and information services for Dutch nationals abroad, emergency broadcasting during international disasters, the provision of information in regions where press freedom is limited, and the presentation of a realistic and balanced image of the Netherlands.
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