Slovenia's Law Safeguarding Independence of Public TV

Slovenia’s Law Safeguarding Independence of Public TV Takes Effect

Slovenia's Law Safeguarding Independence of Public TV Takes Effect

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LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA — As a new law takes effect, the public broadcaster RTV in Slovenia may announce a new management team in the coming weeks.

The first meeting of the newly established RTV Council, which has the authority to name RTV SLO’s chief executive and approve production plans, took place on Monday.

The body was unable to meet until the Constitutional Court made a decision on some contested parts of the Act on RTV Slovenia.

The law, which was approved by the center-left government in Slovenia, aims to shield public media from political influence. Additionally, the management of RTV is reorganized under the reform, moving from two governing councils to a single 17-member decision-making body.

After journalists and media analysts warned that political interference in RTV under the previous administration risked damaging the broadcaster’s credibility, the changes were proposed when Slovenia’s center-left government took power in 2022.

In May, Prime Minister Robert Golob stated that “politics is withdrawing from managing RTV Slovenia and giving its employees the necessary autonomy” when the law was enforced.

The International Press Institute, or IPI, a media organization based in Vienna, also commended the law’s enforcement.

IPI Europe Advocacy Officer Jamie Wiseman told VOA that it “finally creates the legal framework for RTV to depoliticize its management structures, limit interference, and slowly regain its independence,” describing it as a “long overdue and positive step forward for a troubled public broadcaster.”

He did, however, point out that RTV still faces a number of issues, “that will take sustained and systemic efforts to address, including a staffing crisis, serious financial problems, internal division, and public distrust,” and he said that these issues will need to be addressed.

That conclusion is supported by a large number of academics and journalists.

A non-binding resolution passed by the European Parliament slammed the previous center-right government in Slovenia for trying to discredit both publicly owned and privately owned media. “Cease all political interference in (RTV) editorial policy,” it demanded of Slovenia, a member of the EU.

Be that as it may, the head of the resistance and previous Top state leader Janez Jansa answered the court’s decision on RTV through Twitter, saying, “In the event that such clear cheating is conceivable even at the Sacred Court, nobody can anticipate an equitable preliminary.”

Jansa had more than once blamed the telecaster for predisposition, and his middle-right Slovenian Progressive faction (SDS) had fruitlessly tested the law at a mandate in November, contending that it was passed exclusively to change the administration of RTV.

More than 62% of voters at the referendum supported the law.

On May 31, a group of protesters led by Pavel Rupar, a former member of the SDS parliament, gathered outside the broadcaster’s main office to oppose the management change, arguing that RTV ought to be a “plurality” symbol.

In addition, Peter Gregorcic, the incoming head of the RTV Council, filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights last week, claiming that the Constitutional Court failed to safeguard the RTV leadership’s legal position.

Since Slovenia gained independence in 1991, the ruling parties have exerted pressure on the country’s RTV.

Be that as it may, Slavko Splichal, a teacher of interchanges at the College of Ljubljana, said, the tension was never essentially as terrible as under Jansa’s organization.

Splichal asserted that the law’s implementation will end “a catastrophic situation” at RTV that had transformed the broadcaster into “a propaganda tool of the SDS” over the previous two years.

During that time, Andrej Grah Whatmough was elected CEO of RTV Slovenia by the former RTV Council, which was mostly composed of center-right lawmakers at the time.

A number of programs were canceled, shortened, or moved to a less prominent channel under Whatmough’s leadership. He appointed Uros Urbanija as director of the broadcaster’s TV unit in July 2022, which prompted staff members and the Association of Journalists of Slovenia to protest.

Under Jansa, Urbanija was the director of the government communication office. During that time, his department accused RTV of bias and temporarily stopped funding STA.

In August, Urbanija let VOA know that he was not an individual from any ideological group, nor has he at any point worked for one, adding that his situation at the public authority’s correspondence office was simply proficient.

Whatmough also has excused cases of political obstruction under the past government, saying in interviews he isn’t associated with the SDS and is acting exclusively as an expert.

Staff warned of consequences During the changes last year, 38 RTV employees were warned that if they broke their contracts, they could be fired.

Staff members entered a studio during a live broadcast to show their support for two colleagues, including anchor Sasa Krajnc, who they claimed were under pressure from TV director Urbanija. The staff members received the warning letters.

Although Krajnc claims that the number of his slots has nearly halved, he has maintained his position as anchor of the primary evening television news program.

“We trust that after the new administration assumes control over proficient norms will be re-established, that regard of representatives will return and that that program will be improved so viewership will rise,” Krajnc told VOA, adding that in his 20 years at RTV, he has never considered such a decay of guidelines to be under the active authority.

Despite the fact that the precise figures are not publicly available, Krajnc stated that the viewership of the majority of news programs has decreased over the past two years.

VOA requested the most recent viewership figures, but the management of RTV did not respond.

According to Splichal, the new leadership of RTV will need to address digitalization and locate strategies for attracting younger viewers. He added too that the new regulation may not forestall the chance of political tension later on.

He stated, “The new RTV Council is not directly nominated by parliament, but parliament still has the most say in it indirectly,” pointing out that some organizations, such as the National Council for Culture, nominate council members.

Splichal stated, “So, the risk of political interference in the program is still there.”

That’s what wise man said on the off chance that the new framework at RTV is appropriately carried out “This would address a genuinely necessary lift for autonomous reporting and media opportunity in Slovenia.”

Source – voanews

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