Congress examines future RTVE advisers

The president of the Congress, Meritxell Batet, this Wednesday.EUROPA PRESS / M.FERNÁNDEZ. POOL / Europa Press

The configuration of the new board of directors of RTVE begins to work after more than two years of parliamentary paralysis. Five of the 94 applicants to be part of that body have appeared this Wednesday before the Appointments Advisory Committee, chaired by Meritxell Batet, to defend the projects presented in the public tender called in July 2018. Shortly after noon the round opened on director Javier Montemayor, who was already a candidate to preside over the corporation in 2014 at the proposal of the disappeared UPyD in a contest that finally opted for José Antonio Sánchez, endorsed by the PP. The appearances have followed the order marked by the grades obtained in the evaluation of the curricula and management projects granted by a committee of experts. The spokesman for Ciudadanos, Guillermo Díaz, has criticized that the pre-selection criteria of the experts were not respected and has considered “an outrage” on the part of the Board of Congress “to throw away” their work, while the representative of Vox, Manuel Sánchez del Real, has questioned « the change in the rules of the game. »

In this extraordinary session it has also been the turn of Rafael Camacho, former general director of Canal Sur; the professor of the Autonomous University of Barcelona José Manuel Pérez Tornero, the former director of RNE Manuel Ventero and the former general director of Canarian television Francisco Moreno. After the round of questions formulated by the spokesmen of Ciudadanos, Unidas Podemos, Vox, PP and PSOE, the candidates have had just 10 minutes to respond, sometimes by telegraph, to the questions raised and expose the main lines of their respective projects.

The spokespersons have been examining the candidates one by one. The UP spokesperson, Txema Guijarro, has been interested in the transparency policy, the outsourcing of content, the formulas to avoid falling into information manipulation and the labor policy to reduce the interim. Vox has asked if the candidates are endorsed by any party while the PP spokesperson, Macarena Montesinos, has insisted on the challenges of digitization and the formulas to seduce citizens and the socialist Daniel Viondi has emphasized the challenges of the corporation, including the future of territorial centers, and its solutions.

Montemayor began his speech by remembering the journalist Alicia Gómez Montano, who died a year ago, who obtained the highest rating in the evaluation carried out by the expert committee. « She should open the appearances today, » he said. When defending his project, the veteran filmmaker has set the example of the BBC and its model of « absolute transparency » so that citizens are aware of management costs, production systems and even the remuneration of managers. He has stated that RTVE has an endemic outsourcing problem and has emphasized the need to eradicate manipulation on any public or private television for the benefit of freedom of information, honesty, impartiality and pluralism. Montemayor has raised a general criticism of public televisions in southern Europe, characterized by « excessive governmentalization » and has considered the return of advertising to public television to be wrong.

Different has been the opinion of Rafael Camacho, in favor of the return of advertisements but « with a limited presence depending on the budget or specific time slots » so that the advertising does not condition the content of the public service. The former general director of the Andalusian RTV, contrary to « demonizing the outsourcing » of content « , has considered that the strategic objective of RTVE should be to accelerate the digital transformation and achieve both » information leadership « and » information quality « .

José Manuel Pérez Tornero, creator of the educational format The Adventure of Knowledge, has specified that the television that is coming cannot be called television because “a ubiquitous and mobile system” has been implemented that causes a different approach of users and opens a new content-based stage. He has defended television to be « universal and free », taking into account that only 37% of Spaniards have pay television. Pérez Tornero perceives that « a greater effort can be made » in terms of transparency and observes that everything that can be produced in RTVE should not be outsourced. « The talent is also outside, but there are formulas so that there is no waste, » he said. Asked about the formulas to eradicate manipulation, he recalled: “Objectivity is an ideal; honesty is an ethical practice ”.

Among all the participants, Manuel Ventero has been the most vehement in terms of the return of advertising to TVE. He has described as « abracadabrante » the fact that the income of public television depends on the contributions of private operators and the « generosity » of the Government, and has proposed the emission of between three and five minutes of advertising every hour in strips non-competitive programming.

The former director of the Canarian RTV Francisco Moreno closed the session to defend the ethics and aesthetics of the contents, focused on plurality and the debate of ideas. He has opted for « the change and transformation » of public radio and television, but has warned that for RTVE to take off, « the rocket fuse » depends more on the decisions adopted by Parliament than on what the council does. of administration. He has reiterated that there is no public service without a public, has considered the current moment as « a historic opportunity » to « put light on increasingly black screens » and has regretted that the TVE audience is penalized « for a serious brand problem » .

One by one, the candidates for members of the RTVE board who presented themselves for the public tender called in July 2018 will go through their management programs before the Appointments Advisory Committee. They are expedited appearances. Each of the applicants has half an hour to answer the questions of the deputies and present their projects. The Congress chose to summon one by one all the professionals who opt for one of the 10 positions on the RTVE board of directors after marginalizing the preselection made by a committee of experts appointed by the groups, which reduced the list to 20. The final adjustment will correspond to Congress, which appoints six members, and the Senate, which elects four. Of these 10 directors, one of them will be appointed president of the corporation by the lower house. Appointments need a two-thirds endorsement on the first ballot. If this result is not reached, the law only requires an absolute majority and the endorsement of at least half of the parliamentary groups.

This selection process has been involved in countless claims. Some applicants have questioned the scales to rate the resumes and others have appealed the qualifications considering that their merits have not been weighted. In order to settle these discrepancies, the lawyers of the Courts were in favor of everyone appearing on equal terms before Congress. With this decision the public contest was denatured.

For the session on Thursday, María Eizaguirre, Agustín García Matilla, Juan Manuel Romero, Eladio Jareño, Vicenç Sanclemente, Carmen Sastre and Juan Jesús Buhigas have been summoned.