Wednesday, July 15, 2009

International Radio of Serbia may drop six languages

The International Radio of Serbia (aka Radio Yugoslavia ) has received a draft contract from the Ministry of Culture, according to which the French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Greek and Arab services should be disbanded, while the remaining programmes would be broadcast in English, Chinese, Russian, Albanian, Spanish and Serbian.

The contract is not acceptable, said Station Director Milena Jokic, who resigned a month ago because of the official attitude towards the station. She said that the proposed contract has a number of legal shortcomings, and that closing down of those programmes does not save anything, because it would only close down ten jobs, and leave the entire infrastructure unchanged.

Ms Dokic also said that the programme in Arabic has a strong foothold in the Arab countries, so that it would practically mean the end of one important channel of communication. She confirmed that nobody from the International Radio of Serbia was consulted when the contract was drafted. She expressed the hope that, instead of closing down the programmes, the Ministry of Culture will offer a provisional contract on the financing of the station by the end of the year, after which another solution for savings will be found.

The editor-in-chief of Radio Belgrade, Dusan Radulovic, supports Ms Dokic, and said in an interview with the station that “the shortwave broadcasts should not be cancelled, and if the country wishes to make some savings, it should decrease the number of various advisors, for example.”

Mr Radulovic agrees that the savings achieved by disbanding these services would be insignificant, since the transmitter is already working around the clock, and the satellite channel has been rented for a long-term. “I believe that the cancellation of these services should be discussed again. The Government needs to think about the function of a station such as Radio Yugoslavia. Many countries in the region have tackled the same issue, and their world services are functioning normally”, added Mr Radulovic.

With regard to the request from the Ministry of Culture to provide information about the number of listeners of Radio Yugoslavia, he described it as meaningless. “I could have the greatest number of listeners, if I would try to follow the line of least resistance and adapt to the public taste. We have a social interest to preserve stations like this”, Dusan Radulovic concluded. (R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)

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