24 April 2012
EFJ and UNI MEI Support Campaign against Austerity and Privatisations at Portuguese Public Broadcaster
The European Federation of
Journalists (EFJ) and UNI Global Union - Media Entertainment & Arts (UNI
MEI) express their support for the campaign to be launched by their affiliates against
the privatisation of public media.
"We are extremely worried that there is no information and no dialogue with journalists about these drastic proposals" said EFJ President Arne König. "We call on the authorities and the management of the public broadcaster to bring answers to the anxiety of the hundreds of journalists and media workers that are affected and to reconsider the whole process".
"We join our affiliates and colleagues in the public media organisations in Portugal in their call to defend the public service broadcasting system against these attacks. The announced privatisation measures will have a significant negative impact on the quality and sustainability of public service broadcasting in Portugal" said William Maunier, EURO-MEI President.
Since last year, the Portuguese government announces the privatisation of a major part of public media, consisting of six radio and TV channels of the public broadcaster RTP and the LUSA press agency.
There is no structured plan or information about the details of this privatisation, however the RTP administration already started a process for 300 job cuts made on a voluntary basis. So far only 130 people volunteered. The management also announced that a part of the production and of the technical services would be outsourced to other companies.
Moreover, salaries of the staff were already cut by a total of 5 million euro and overtime should only be paid at half of the normal wages, whereas members of the Board of Administration of RTP asked to keep their own allocation, which is higher than the salary of the Prime Minister. Therefore, on 6 April, journalists and media workers started a strike on overtime.
The EFJ, UNI-MEI and their affiliates believe that using austerity measures, privatisation and job cuts are a grave danger for journalism as a public good. "In this period of crisis, it is particularly important for citizens to be informed through independent media" said König. "Therefore we see no justification for this privatisation, which is dangerous because it will simply mean less information and fewer jobs".
Tomorrow, 25 April, on the occasion of the 38th Anniversary of the Revolution, unions will start a public action in front of the RTP building and will organise a demonstration with other organisations for public services, the right to information and jobs.
The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists
The EFJ affiliate in Portugal the Sindicato dos Journalistos (SJ)
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in 30 countries
For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200
UNI MEI represents 140 unions and guilds and 300 000 workers in the media and entertainment industries in over 70 countries worldwide
UNI MEI affiliates in Portugal are the Sindicato dos Trabalhadores de Telecomunicações e Comunicação Audivisual (STT - CGTP-IN) and Sindicato Nacional dos Trabalhadores de Telecomunicações e Audivisual (SINTTAV - CGTP-IN)
For more information contact UNI MEI at +32 2 234 56 58
The Sindicato das Artes e Espectáculo (SIARTE-UGT) will also take part to the day of action.