Two former journalists represent N-VA in Senate

Summary

N-VA has announced that former journalists Jan Becaus and Pol Van Den Driessche will represent the party in the federal government, surprising the public and news media alike

French-speaking spokesperson appointed

N-VA surprised everyone last Saturday with an announcement that Jan Becaus (pictured) would represent them in the Senate. Becaus was a widely respected news anchor for the public broadcaster VRT, known for his professionalism and neutrality, until he resigned last year at the age of 65.

Becaus’ impeccable Oxford pronunciation of English was imitated in comedy programmes and made him somewhat of a cult hero in the later years of his career, with several tribute Facebook pages.

Since his retirement, Becaus has been in correspondence, he said, with N-VA president Bart De Wever. He applied for the senatorial function by letter. “I have retired now, but that does not place me outside of society. I can and want to contribute to the social debate,” he said.

The other senator appointed was less of a surprise: Pol Van Den Driessche, former editor of Het Nieuwsblad and journalist at the weekly magazine Dag Allemaal, previously served as a senator for CD&V. In spite of a good personal result, he was not elected to the federal parliament.

In 2012, Van Den Driessche set to become mayor of Bruges for N-VA, but he withdrew his candidacy after allegations of sexual intimidation. He continued to work for the party as a media advisor.

Due to the sixth state reform, the new Senate will function as a meeting place for representatives of Belgium’s regions and communities. Fifty of its members are delegates from the regions’ and communities’ parliaments, 10 are “co-opted” by the parties, according to their electoral results.

Another surprise appointment is that of Anne-Laure Mouligeaux as a French-speaking spokesperson for N-VA. The party has always had a troublesome relationship with the francophone press; with Mouligeaux, Flanders’ largest party hopes to improve its media relations with the south of Belgium.

Photo courtesy VRT BMUSS

VRT

The Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (VRT) is Flanders’ public broadcaster. The VRT has a very wide reach in Flanders and draws the bulk of its financing from the Flemish government. Its main and long-time rival is the commercial broadcaster VMMa.
Channels - VRT operates three television channels (Eén, Canvas, Ketnet), one exclusively digital TV channel (OP12) and five radio channels (Radio 1, Radio 2, Klara, MNM and Studio Brussel).
Woestijnvis - For more than a decade, production house Woestijnvis created TV shows exclusively for the VRT, producing legendary programming in the 1990s such as the panel sketch show Alles kan beter; In de gloria, a send-up of reality TV; and the comedic challenge series De XII werken van Vanoudenhoven. A major change to the media landscape in 2011 found Woestijnvis the owner of its own TV stations, which it now favours in terms of production.
Management - Every four years, a new management contract outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the VRT and the government of Flanders in the VRT’s execution of its public service mission.
1 998

the BRT transforms into VRT

46

annual government subsidy per Fleming in euros

13 365

combined hours of TV programming in 2012