MP: Champions League a Waste of Money

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In the future more space should be reserved ​​for cultural and journalistic productions in public broadcasting, according to D66 MP, Kees Verhoeven. 
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Broadcasting expensive sport events like the Champions League,  are not a core service of public broadcasting, according to the MP.

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As far as Verhoeven is concerned, public broadcasting will from now on focus on five categories: culture, drama, documentaries, background journalism, and national events (including the champions league).

Monday the House will debate on the media budget, but Verhoeven also wants to open the debate to the subject of the future of public broadcasting. This discussion can not wait any longer, because the broadcast is facing millions in cutbacks in the coming years.

It bothers MP Verhoeven that State Secretary Sander Dekker (Media) first wants to await the advice of the Council for Culture, which is expected early 2014. Dekker plans to respond to this advice in the spring, and only then can the debate really start about the core responsibilities of the broadcast. Verhoeven wants to start the discussion by stating that the public broadcast goes about making its cuts the wrong way.

The public broadcast seems to choose to cut down on the kind of programs that determine its core service, like culture, background journalism, drama, and documentaries, while still buying large sporting events, such as the Champions League, according to Verhoeven.

Analysis show that 43 percent of the cuts are at the expense of journalism and culture, while entertainment and sports only account for 9 percent. The D66 MP does not believe this to be a positive development. D66 prefers a public broadcast that chooses programs that may be hard to maintain through a commercial business model, but are much needed in society. Verhoeven cites 'Zembla' as an example, the program that discovered the billions fraud in construction.

Neither PvdA MP Martijn van Dam, nor CDA MP Pieter Heerma care for the plans of Verhoeven. In their opinion the broadcast would be too élite. There needs to be room for entertainment that appeals to a broad public. The Champions League fits perfectly in the public broadcast, just not against any price.

Public broadcast is defined by quality and pluralism, rather than the number of viewers and commercial revenue, states Jasper van Dijk (SP), who is also concerned the proposed cuts will damage the public broadcast.

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