The opinions of the government’s senior privatisation advisor and former IMF director António Borges on the future of national broadcaster RTP has sparked angry reactions from the corporation’s employees and the opposition.
The government’s senior privatisation consultant has said the possibility of handing Portugal’s main RTP1 television channel to private management under a concession was a “very attractive” idea.
António Borges’ comment Thursday night in an interview with private television TVI sparked angry reactions from RTP employees and the opposition Socialist Party.
Saying no decision had yet been taken on RTP’s future, Borges, a former IMF director, underlined that handing its principal channel to a private operator under concession would assure continued “public service” broadcasting at “much reduced” cost for the government.
“If the concessionaire wants, it can lay off. If it thinks there’re too many workers, it can fire”, he said, adding that the broadcast company’s junior channel, RTP2, would likely be closed down.
Socialist MP Inês Medeiros stiffly questioned Borges’ right, as a consultant, to make such public statements and said she was “stupefied” at his apparent ignorance of the purpose, needs and limits of public service television.
“There’s no awareness of what public service is; there’s no awareness of the public good, and RTP is a public good”, the opposition lawmaker told news agency Lusa, vowing the Socialists would do “everything” to block such a scenario for RTP.
The broadcaster’s Workers Commission called a meeting of all RTP employees for next week to discuss action against what it described as the government’s “obsession to privatise” RTP with “total indifference regarding the future of the public service and its workers”.