Laid-off Spanish TV staff mutiny, take over broadcasts

Madrid:  Workers at a debt-laden Spanish television station on Friday defied an order to close the broadcaster by airing their own live protest programme.

Staff at RTVV, a loss-making broadcaster owned by the government in the eastern Valencia region, refused to accept their fate quietly.

When the conservative Popular Party-run Valencia government officially published "the law for the elimination, dissolution and liquidation" on Thursday, the workers launched a live protest broadcast through the night.

In one programme, the backdrop was a cross above the words: "Here lies RTVV, abused, exploited, manipulated and killed by the Popular Party".

Workers, who have been running protest programmes since the closure plan was first announced early in November, said they had managed to hold off several attempts during the night to take them off the air.

"The radio is off but the television is carrying on," said Salut Alcover, deputy head of the staff representative's committee for RTVV.

"We still have the antenna despite several attempts to cut the signal but they have not succeeded because of our colleagues' resistance," Alcover told Spanish public radio.

"It has been a very sad night but at the same time unforgettable and emotional for this company because we, the staff, continue to broadcast," she said.

Police officers were shown on Spanish media being deployed during the night outside the television station's headquarters.

Valencia regional radio reportedly went off air just before midnight. Minutes later, television staff began live coverage of their struggle.

The RTVV Internet site was not available mid-morning.

Valencia's regional government had tried to fire 1,000 of the 1,700 workers at Radio Television Valenciana (RTVV) but staff successfully challenged the procedure in court.

Valencia's government said it could not afford to comply with the court order to bring back the laid-off workers.

Instead it announced November 5 a decision to shut down the operation entirely.

It marks the first shutdown of a regional television station in Spain, which alongside national broadcaster Television Espana also has 13 regional public television stations, some of which have several channels.
Story First Published: November 29, 2013 15:44 IST

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