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Week ending July 28, 2012
HILVERSUM – The Supervisory Board of Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) has appointed Robert Zaal as director of RNW 3.0 . From November 1, the 48-year-old will lead the implementation of RNW’s new direction, focussed on free speech. As of 2013, RNW will operate primarily in Africa and the Arab world, but also in countries such as China, Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico.
The chairman of the board, Bernard Bot, is pleased with the appointment. In a statement, Bot said, “after the most turbulent and painful period in RNW’s history, the organisation is now almost ready to embark on its new future. Robert Zaal has extensive experience in the areas of free speech, media and management. He’s the right person in the right place.”
Robert Zaal said he was pleased with the step. “It’s an honour to be able to contribute to promoting free speech around the world. This is more than just a regular job for me. It will be a challenge, together with the new editor-in-chief, to steer RNW in this new phase. There’s a good plan for RNW 3.0 and we will implement it in a serious and business-like fashion.”
RNW’s current director, Jan Hoek, remains responsible for activities related to the winding down of the old organisation, including the Social Plan and the closure of the relay stations. Jan Hoek and Robert Zaal will meet shortly to discuss the details and timing of the transfer.
Robert Zaal began his career as secretary of the Dutch Journalists’ Association. Later, he became the director of the regional broadcasters’ association, ROOS. For the past nine years, Zaal has been director of RTV North Holland, which recently acquired the Amsterdam television channel AT5, together with the AVRO broadcasting organisation and the Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool. Zaal is married and has three children.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the European Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to support the reform of public broadcasting and promote its sustainability in the countries that aspire to join the European Union.
The reform of public broadcasting, as well as media freedom and pluralism, are key accession criteria for countries wishing to enter the EU.
The EBU and the Commission will work together to help enlargement countries establish public service media that fulfil standards of independence, effectiveness, public accountability and economic sustainability.
Welcoming the agreement, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle said: "The EU enlargement process is about assisting the aspirant countries with their transformation and reaching European standards in all areas of life. For the challenging task of helping public broadcasters with the reform, we have an important ally with the necessary expertise and experience, the EBU, with whom we share the same goals of promoting freedom of expression and public service media."
EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot also hailed the partnership. "The EBU is extremely pleased that the European Commission has recognized our work across Europe in supporting broadcasting reform, training and capacity-building for journalists and media professionals. We look forward to the challenge, and to strengthening cooperation in other EU neighbouring countries over the years to come."
The EBU President said the task of reforming public broadcasters will be complex if changes are to be sustained.
"Public broadcasters not only need financial continuity, they require protection from undue political interference and the potential to work with modern technologies – indispensable in today's fast paced media environment. All this should be combined with living up to the core values of public service media: universality, independence, excellence, diversity, accountability and innovation.”
Commissioner Füle also expressed support for the EBU's work in the Caucasus and northern Africa. Both Mr Füle and Mr Philippot agreed to have more coordinated and closer cooperation in these so-called Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood countries.
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