Minister of Culture and Education Illugi Gunnarsson contends that only the management of state broadcasting service RÚV is responsible for the mass firing that happened last week.
Yesterday, Illugi answered questions from the general public as a part of DV’s Direct Line series. When asked if he was happy with recent budget cuts made to RÚV, Illugi absolved the government of any responsibility for the lay-offs.
“The management of RÚV is responsible for how they conduct their work,” he said. “Actually, we’ll soon be reviewing our service contract [with RÚV], and a necessary part of that is reviewing what their budget is, and how we can ensure that they can continue working in the role that the law provides.”
Last week, RÚV fired 60 employees, some of them journalists who had worked there for years.
According to a press release from RÚV, the firings were prompted by a bill from the parliamentary Budget Committee, which proposes cutting funding to RÚV by 500 million ISK. Páll Magnússon, the director of RÚV, said budget cuts will also mean that “some programming on radio and television will be dropped, other programmes will be shortened, and others will be changed or thinned out. News spots will also be reduced [in frequency] and shortened.”
The 2014 budget has yet to be approved by parliament, and may undergo revisions before a final vote is cast.