Concern over Flemish Public Broadcaster, VRT facing cuts and political pressure


Concern over Flemish Public Broadcaster, VRT facing cuts and political pressure

UNI MEI is concerned with the plans put forward by the new government of the Flemish region in Belgium that are targeting the autonomy of the public service broadcasting and are calling into question the impartiality the public service broadcaster VRT and its programs.

Following years of restructuring and enormous cuts in the funding of VRT, the announcement of the new government of cutting the VRT funding by over 40 million euros implies a new restructuring process and possible job loss for one in eight staff members! This new policy is  not a measure of budgetary discipline or good governance but clearly an attack on the financial and editorial independence of the VRT.

In a statement issued by the European Executive Committee of EURO-MEI, the community of media and entertainment unions condemned the new government’s  policy, imposing on the VRT and, by extension, on the cultural sector, to ‘strengthen the Flemish identity’ in its programming and joined The protest of the Belgian union against this move intending to turn the media and culture policy into a tool of political campaigning.

Putting chains on public broadcaster VRT directly weakens our democracy, in the heart of Europe!

UNI MEI calls on the government to halt and review its policy and is joining our colleagues and affiliates in their campaign against this far-reaching political interference an instrumentalization.

Together, we demand that Belgian political parties and their leaders take responsibility and provide the VRT with the necessary financial means and ensure its editorial independence and right of freedom of expression it requires to continue to make independent quality public service broadcasting for all citizens.