Montenegran Prime Minister Igor Luksic has said his government will consider further assistance to the country’s ailing public service broadcaster, RTCG, subject to plans to cut staffing and provide more high-quality programmes. EBU Vice-President Claudio Cappon was in Podgorica to discuss the situation of RTCG, which is unable to pay its debts to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) because cuts in Montenegro’s budget have reduced its government funding.
In a meeting with the prime minister, Mr Cappon stressed the role of public service broadcasters in countries of the European Union, which Montenegro is anxious to join. And he offered the EBU’s assistance in developing a restructuring plan for RTCG within the framework of the EBU’s Special Assistance Project. “The status quo is not an option,” he said.
Mr Luksic said he was aware of the need for swift action on RTCG. “We have to cut staffing to a more sustainable level in order to create room to make more high-quality programmes,” he said, welcoming the offer of EBU expertise and advice on how this could be done. “Then the government will probably find resources or some additional investments.”
Mr Cappon made the point that it is sometimes necessary to spend money in order to save money - for example to pay severance pay to reduce staffing levels.
The EBU Vice-President, who was accompanied by his predecessor Boris Bergant and by David Lewis, Head of Member Relations and Special Assistance, later had a meeting with the governing Council of RTCG and with representatives of the national regulatory body and of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has a Mission to Montenegro.
The OSCE has agreed to support the cost of an EBU consultant assisting RTCG in developing a strategic restructuring plan.