Dutch public broadcasters too reliant on government: director

Dutch public broadcasters are far too reliant on government in terms of both strategy and finance, NPO chief Henk Hagoort says in an interview with Trouw.

The Dutch public broadcasting system is currently funded by a combination of income tax and advertising, which makes it too vulnerable to political pressure, Hagoort said.

Instead, the system should be again funded through a licence fee payable by everyone, Hagoort told Trouw in an interview.


The switch to tax funding was ‘an historic mistake’ which means ‘the government can stop funding whenever it likes,’ he said. The government is currently cutting one third of the NPO’s budget, forcing broadcasters to merge and rethink their programming.

Public broadcasting companies (including AVRO, BNN, EO, KRO, NCRV, TROS, VARA and VPRO) provide programmes for three television and five radio stations as well as digital channels.

They have a specific religious, political or social slant and their airtime is allocated according to how many members they have.

Parliament is due to debate the public broadcasting system on Wednesday.

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