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Spanish broadcaster off-air after 24 years of public service as TV boom faces bust

Spanish broadcaster off-air after 24 years of public service as TV boom faces bust
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Workers at a Spanish television channel have been evicted after defying a management closure order and continuing to broadcast.

Bosses at Valencia broadcaster Radio Television Valenciana (RTVV) had fired over half the workforce to try and stay afloat. A court ruled the workers should be reinstated. The broadcaster couldn’t afford to do that, so was forced to close, making 17,000 people jobless.

Last minutes of Canal9 RTVV

One unnamed employee told euronews: “We are leaving this building promising that we are going to do everything for the return of the radio and tv programs for the Valencian people,” he said.

Valencia is the most heavily indebted Spanish region. Its local government is run by the conservative Popular Party, which is in power nationally under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

“Of course I feel for them (the tv employees),” said Rahoy at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. “Losing a job is not a minor thing for the person losing it. It’s kind of unfair and not at all pleasant,” he added.

Regional President Alberto Fabra said the shutdown was “non-negotiable.”

“The court ruling leaves us no other option but to close down the station because we cannot bear the cost,” Fabra told reporters on Wednesday.

“We do not have the 40 million euros required to take back those 1,000 workers, because we need that money to maintain education, health and social services,” he added.

Unions and political opponents scorned the government’s explanation. Journalists called for Fabra to resign.

Spain has 17 regional broadcasters. Analysts predict the one in Valencia could be the first of many to close as austerity bites.