Minister Miguel Relvas has this week detailed outlines of the Portuguese government’s plans for the future of state-financed media companies to the Commission of Ethics, Citizenship and Communication. Prior to meeting the commission Mr Relvas, Parliamentary Affairs Minister, had already told journalists that the government would pre-pay €225 million in debts owed by the state-owned broadcaster RTP in 2012 within the framework of preparations for privatisation.
Furthermore, he said that the future of local channels RTP Madeira and RTP Azores was “not possible” at a joint annual cost of €24.7 million with immediate plans to cut back broadcast time to four hours daily.
Minister Relvas told the commission directly that RTP’s international channel was also currently under review and should count on the “involvement of private operators.”
However, the plans were met by opposition from some commission members. Opposition Socialist member, Inês de Medeiros stressed the importance of independent public service broadcasting and that the plan to privatise one of RTP’s two national channels ran counter to trends across Europe.
However, with a clear emphasis on the financial reality following the EU/IMF bailout of Portugal, Mr Relvas informed the commission he had asked RTP both to rethink its €2 million contract with the Euronews channel and “to find synergies” with national news agency Lusa, particularly in terms of international bureaus. Both entities are included in the coalition government’s privatisation programme.
(Source: TPN/Lusa via theportugalnews.com)