EBU speaks out over cuts to Danish public broadcaster DR

The EBU has spoken out against the Danish Government’s new contract with DR that will cut the public TV and radio organisation’s scope, remit and range of programming.

The EBU, an alliance of public service media organisations, said it is concerned at political attempts to “drastically narrow and alter the accepted broad remit of public service media”.

“For the audience, such restrictions will limit diversity and access to programmes that are relevant to their lives while fostering social cohesion and understanding at a time when this is more important than ever,” said the EBU executive board in a statement.

“Moreover, there is compelling evidence that market forces alone do not deliver consumers an offer of media services that contribute to the sense of belonging to a nation, region or continent.”

Danmarks Radio’s (DR’s) TV portfolio of six channels is due to be halved and five of its eight radio stations will be axed after the government cut its budget by 20% following a media bill passed earlier this year.

The broadcaster has said it will cut back on sport, entertainment, lifestyle and international drama in order to strengthen regional content and invest into local drama, children’s programming, documentaries and music.

Around 400 staff will be affected by the cuts, including 25 manager-level roles.

Channels affected include DR3, DR Ultra and culture channel DRK. While DR3 and DR Ultra will transform into digital platforms by 2020, DRK is to be merged into DR2.

Radio channels affected include P6 Beat, P7 Mix and P8 Jazz.

The move have resulted in an outcry from the Danish media community and opposition politicians who have labelled the cuts a “historical degradation of Danish radio and television”.

DR director general Maria Rørbye Rønn said: “A political decision has been taken to reduce DR’s expenditure by 20 percent. That will be tough, but we have taken on the challenge.

“The background is both the necessary cuts and to ensure that DR can place even more focus on conversion to digital. In terms of content, we will now focus even more on our strengths. All in all, these are relatively drastic changes, but we think we’re on the right path.”

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