Thursday, March 29, 2012

Radio Netherlands Says Good-Bye

At 5:42PM, on March 23rd, 2012, our good friend, Andy Sennitt, said this about the changes to take place at RNW:

"There will still be an English website, but there will no longer be any news or articles specifically about the Netherlands, unless they are related to our only remaining core task, which is to serve countries where press freedom is restricted. Our prime minister Mark Rutte said that carrying information about the Netherlands "is a nice thing to do, but not with government money." The exact details haven't yet been finalised, but will be announced on this site as soon as they are."

What was Andy talking about? Well, as most everyone knows by now, RNW has been the victim of state mandated cuts and closures of services. This means that RNW will essentially be "re-invented" as a media source catering to countries of the world who suffer from state imposed media freedom restrictions. Most people can agree that this is indeed, a noble and heroic task to undertake. One can only question though, why this would be done at the expense of those who need and want news about the Netherlands, Dutch culture and events, etc. Did Mark Rutte ever think about how this may impact tourism? Segments of international relations that will now be left out?

Further research into the origins of these rash decisions brings us to this:  The Dutch Government is almost ready to fall due to failures of their political parties to work out a realistic budget.

Quote: "Diederik Samsom wants to call general elections immediately if the cabinet falls. He also says he would not do business with an outgoing Rutte cabinet before new elections."

Here is the exact text of Andy's new article. We are posting this here VERBATIM because we honestly cannot imagine ever saying it better than Andy can! 

As the clocks in Europe go forward to summertime, Radio Netherlands Worldwide is entering a period of drastic change which will see the closure of many services and the relaunch of the organisation with a much smaller staff. RNW will in future be specialising in producing material for audiences in countries with limited press freedom.

RNW will no longer be broadcasting to Dutch expatriates. The Dutch radio service will hold a 24-hour marathon broadcast on 10/11 May to mark the end of its 65 years of service. Other services will be affected too - plans are still to be finalised, but Radio Netherlands Worldwide will cease to operate in a number of languages and other services, including this website, will be adapted to meet the new focus of promoting free speech.

All these changes have been forced on RNW by the Dutch government’s decision to slash our budget by 70 percent with effect from 1 January 2013. The budget will come from the Foreign Ministry rather than the Ministry of Education and Culture as at present. The editorial independence of RNW will remain sacrosanct.

More information about the changes will be published as soon as these are official.

On February 7th, 2012, Andy Sennitt also disclosed information about an upcoming RNW Marathon event on the now defunct Media Network Weblog:  (Andy is quoted from the weblog exactly as it was published)

On Friday, 11 May we will have a marathon [Dutch] radio broadcast in which we look back with pride at 65 years of Dutch radio for expatriates, and which will also serve as the ‘farewell’ broadcast. Activities in other languages, especially those for the Dutch Caribbean and Indonesia, will also be discussed in detail. The choice of date has to do with the preparation time required to produce the radio marathon.

The activities of the Dutch department will be phased out, but the timetable will depend on the progress of the reorganization and the available manpower needed to guarantee the quality of the programmes. No formal decision has yet been made about the date of the final Dutch radio broadcast. However it is extremely unlikely that Dutch language radio broadcasts will continue through the summer.

(Source: RNW Editor-in-Chief)

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