Tuesday, September 27, 2011

RTVE Governors Forced to Back Down

Political appointees on the board of governors of Spain’s public broadcaster, RTVE, voted to give themselves editorial control of the station’s news. The measure means that the governors, who are appointed by Spain’s political parties, will be given full access the internal news system, including scripts and videos to be used in the news programmes. The move shocked staff at the broadcaster, who immediately accused the governors of plotting to censor the news before it is broadcast. Governors of RTVE earn €120,000 a year and have the right to a personal advisor, secretarial support, an official car and a chauffeur; nine of the governors are appointed by political parties, and two are appointed by Spain’s biggest trade unions. The proposal was put forward by a governor appointed by the conservative People’s Party, who have longed complained that the senior news executives of RTVE harboured a socialist bias.

The measure provoked outrage in the press and from political parties not represented on the board of governors. RTVE’s news journalists committee issued a statement saying “this opens the way to censorship, political control and other kinds of pressurizing” whilst Cayo Lara, head of the United Left coalition, called the measure “an attack on independence”. Criticism has even been voiced from within the People’s Party; Esteban Gonzalez Pon, the party’s official party spokesman, said “I don’t like this, supervision is not a good idea.”

In response to the outcry, the governors of RTVE have called a meeting on Friday in order to strike out the measures. “We have reconsidered our decision, which is why we will ask for the measure to be cancelled”, a spokesman said.

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