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Dutch Jewish broadcaster wins first prize for religious TV

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — A Dutch Jewish television channel won the first prize for original production at a festival for religious broadcasters from across Europe.

The Hilversum-based Joodse Omroep television station plucked the prize for “best television production” with its nine-part series “Zoek de verschillen” (“Look for the differences”) at the four-day European Festival of Religious Programmes, which ended earlier this week and was held for the 18th time in Holland’s studio city, Hilversum.

The program, which examines Jewish communities throughout the world, was voted as the winner not only by the festival’s professional jury, but also clinched the title of audience favorite, the Evangelische Omroep, a Christian broadcaster, reported.

The program was up against 62 submissions. Of those, 29 shows were considered by the jury for the “best production award.”

Dutch Jewry received its own broadcasting company 40 years ago with the establishment of NIK Media, renamed Joodse Omroep, or JO, in 2005. It is currently the only publicly funded Jewish broadcaster of its size in Europe, offering 70 hours of radio and 23 hours of television annually along with a website featuring news and archived programs.

JO’s five staffers run the operation out of Hilversum with an annual budget of $1.2 million, provided by the Dutch government.

In 2012, the Dutch government announced that it would stop its funding for religious broadcasters. JO is funded until 2016.

Stations that could sign up more than 50,000 members would be eligible for a different subsidy.

JO’s, which draws its viewers principally from Holland’s 40,000 Jews, warned the decision could lead to its shuttering and pleaded with the government to find alternative funding that would enable the station to continue broadcasting.

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