Lichtpunt: Belgian Broadcaster Forced to Cease Operations
On 6th of December 2015, Lichtpunt - the broadcaster of Het Vrije Woord (Humanist Movement in Flanders) - known to many an international documentary filmmaker as a strong supporter (and financier) of documentaries - will have its last appearance on the television screen.
After 35 years of excellent work, Wim Van Rompaey, Joke Goovaerts and Chantal van Look are forced to stop their activities because of the decision by Flemish Minister of Media Mr. Sven Gatz not to renew the broadcasting license. This is a very serious blow for both national and international filmmakers, and for the audience who is now losing a major gateway to quality documentaries.
As of 19 November 2015, the below text was still published on the English part of the Lichtpunt website:
"The future of the Flemish public broadcasting and Lichtpunt in particular is in the midst of a political turmoil. In 2015 we will lose 20% of the budget and the new Flemish minister of media doesn't want to give us a new license in 2016. There is much public debate going on and we are not sure yet that the minister will reach his goal. Up to the moment we have a clear sight what will happen, we are obliged to take no new commitments."
In spite of many letters of protest the Minister could not be convinced to revoke his decision. It is now up to the Flemish Public Broadcaster VRT to make sure that the documentary tradition that was built up by Lichtpunt will not be lost.
EDN would like to thank Wim, Joke and Chantal for many years of great collaboration and we wish them the very best in their new endeavors.
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