The announced privatization of channel 1 of the Portuguese public service television (RTP) would, in SPA’s opinion, be a serious mistake for the future of television in Portugal. First of all, because subjects that would surely have no interest for private television stations, which are more worried about audience ratings and advertising revenues, would be removed from the daily programming. Secondly, because the programming of a public service channel meanwhile privatized would leave little room for the inclusion of the works by Portuguese authors and artists. Thirdly, because the existence of a public television service contributes to the improvement of citizenship in a democratic society, which is even more imperative and indispensable during a period of serious financial, economic and social crisis such as the one we are currently experiencing.
On the other hand, the existence of a public service television channel is also a sign of the State’s responsibility regarding the media, which shouldn’t be eliminated merely because it’s a period of deep austerity.
Finally, SPA considers that, should RTP1’s privatization occur, it would also represent a major setback for the developments that took place during the last decades in terms of what the public television service should be. If cuts and restrictions need to be implemented, then let them be made on the basis of criteria that are adequate to the current situation. It should, under no circumstances, result in the removal of a public service channel, pure and simple.
Lisbon, October 19th, 2011