roosThe Dutch government decided that in the future regional broadcasters should be able to remain giving maximum substance to the public service media mission in the regions with their own identity and an independent position. That is what the Secretary of State of Education and Culture Mr. Dekker says in his Monday published letter to the Dutch parliament. The letter describes the Dutch governmental vision on the future of the public service media system in the Netherlands. Through closer cooperation with each other, and with the national broadcasters and other regional media the journalism in the regions can be strengthened.

ROOS, the umbrella organization for all regional broadcasters in the Netherlands, applauds this direction in the letter which is given by the Dutch government and endorses the mission of the Secretary of State to spend the public money on journalism and regional programs maximum efficiently.
Regional programs are about and/or concern the immediate environment of the viewer and listener. Coverage of events, reporting in case of large emergencies and giving attention to all kinds of social and cultural developments - made in their own 'local color'- contribute to the environment and commitment in the regions.
Regional broadcasters also have a pivotal role when it comes to regional journalism and contribute to democracy by the control of power on local and regional level. The number of journalist from both regional broadcasters and newspapers has declined sharply in recent years.
The Secretary of State believes that the present organization of 13 independent regional broadcasters is not powerful enough to adept to all challenges which the future media landscape will come upon. He wants a more agile and more efficient regional broadcast system in which the budget cuts in 2017 will not influence the program offerings by demanding more and close cooperation between and the regional broadcasters and the national ones.

Viewer and listener first
In his letter the Secretary of State Mr. Dekker confirms the urgent need for a regional media supply about the immediate environment of viewers and listeners and the important role of the regional broadcasters in this environment.
The regional broadcaster brings news and informs widely on sports, culture and politics from within their own environment. " In addition to check the local and regional authorities on how they act, regional media have a unifying culture supporting role as well", says Mr. Dekker. " Zealanders, Twenten or West Frisians, the people for whom the media offer is made should be involved in the programmatic choices which are made by the broadcasters.

Cooperation with and within the region
To be able to guarantee this media offerings towards the future, the Secretary of State Mr. Dekker wants more cooperation between the regional broadcasters themselves as well as the regional partners and the national broadcaster. He asks ROOS to come up with a plan on how regional broadcasters should be organized in the future and how they can cooperate with al kinds of partners.
The already made paper -The future Window on Regional Public Broadcasting - has good starting points, but according to Mr. Dekker more and further steps are needed.

Cooperation with national broadcasting
According to Mr. Dekker to strengthening regional journalism the cooperation with the national broadcaster should grow and also the reports and programs from and about the regions deserve a wider stage. ROOS agrees with that: " Through cooperation between national broadcasters and programs as NOS, EenVandaag and broadcaster Omroep MAX, recently there has been more and more attention on national TV and radio on what is happening in the regions. The Secretary of State believes that windows on the national channels with regional news are also a possible form of national-regional cooperation and he wants a plan for that as well.
ROOS-chairman Jack de Vries sees the letter as an important recognition of the special position of the regional broadcasters as well as the regional and local news and journalism and he endorses the need of a plan that the Secretary of State expects from ROOS. He is also pleased that the discussion about merging the regional broadcasting within the national broadcaster in no longer on the table.
"Regional programming is only regional as it is made in and by the regions itself. Organized independently from the national broadcasting, the unique and nearby regional broadcasting is guaranteed for the audiences, but meanwhile there may occur a close substantive cooperation between the both of them. Also tailored cooperation between regional partners such as newspapers or social and cultural institutions within the different regions are a possible in this situation.", De Vries says.