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Regional government closes down public broadcaster in Spain

Employees of RTVV protest after the regional government announced the closure of TV and radio stations in Valencia, 6 November 2013.
Employees of RTVV protest after the regional government announced the closure of TV and radio stations in Valencia, 6 November 2013.

REUTERS/Heino Kalis

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has call for the immediate re-opening of the public broadcaster, Canal 9/Radio Television Valenciana (RTVV), in Valencia, Spain following its shut down on Tuesday 5 November.

Albert Fabra, President of the autonomous region of Valencia (Mediterranean coast) announced on Tuesday the closure of Canal 9/RTVV. This announcement follows a court decision ordering Canal 9 to reintegrate to their jobs 980 employees (most of them are journalists) who were previously fired. The judges considered that the process leading to the redundancy was flawed.

Canal 9 is a public broadcaster owned by the Valencia government. For years, journalists working for Canal 9/RTVV have protested against the ownership due to political pressures. It was reported that the manager of Canal 9/RTVV are associated to Spanish right-wing Popular Party which kept governing Valencia for the last two decades.

"It is ridiculous that the same politicians who are responsible for the corrupt and bad management now decided to shut down the public broadcaster,'' said Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, EFJ President.

''They ignored the law and European standards on public broadcasting and freedom of expression. It goes against the principles of free journalism and an attack to labour rights." added Blicher Bjerregård.

Canal 9/RTVV is mainly a Catalan speaking channel that serves the Valencian population. Until now, it has been considered a key factor for keeping culturally active a language spoken by 12 million Europeans (mainly in Spain) and other regions in France and Sardinia (Italy).

With support of the unions, including IFJ/EFJ affiliates, FSC-CCOO, FAPE and FeSP, media workers at Canal 9/RTVV continue to broadcast. The number of audience has tripled since this more free and self-made programs began.

"What is happening now to Canal 9/RTVV (see here) serves as an example for other Spanish regional and national broadcasters. We support the action of journalists and the rest of Canal 9/RTVV employees because stand for the value of independent journalism and the strength of public broadcasting in Europe," said Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ Secretary General.

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