January 19, 2021

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VRT needs to provide more insight into contracts with celebrities

VRT needs to provide more insight into contracts with celebrities

From now on, the VRT has to offer more transparency about expensive exclusivity agreements in its annual report. This is set out in an updated draft text of the administrative agreement between the public service broadcaster and the Flemish government, which De Tijd was able to consult.

The VRT does not have to provide a complete list of all contracts, but has to provide a global amount that is paid annually for all exclusivity fees for screen faces and radio voices. In addition, the public broadcaster must indicate in its annual report how many of these contracts are more than 250,000 euros.

The obligation to publish results from severe criticism of the public broadcaster about the lack of transparency in expensive exclusive contracts. In addition, a review by Audit Flanders revealed that in addition to the actual contract, considerable consulting fees are sometimes paid.

More audiovisual media, less text

The transparency obligation is contained in an updated draft text of the administrative agreement between VRT and the Flemish government, which De Tijd was able to inspect. This text is not yet final, but the passage about transparency in exclusivity agreements is new compared to a previously leaked version.

The draft administrative agreement also corrects some other sensitive passages. For example, the VRT news site should aim to have at least 55 percent of the items online in the form of video and audio instead of text. It is an old requirement of newspaper publishers that the public broadcaster focus more on audiovisual content on its website.

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