Parliament opens special session on changes in RTVS

Parliament opens special session on changes in RTVS

A special parliamentary session on changing public-service broadcaster Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS) into Slovak Television and Radio (STVR) started on Wednesday morning.

The bill on STVR was approved by the government in late April. The motion doesn't formally split RTVS, but it does change the rules guiding the creation of the public-broadcaster's bodies and terminates the tenure of incumbent director Lubos Machaj and the RTVS Board members.

When advocating the need for the above changes, coalition representatives argued that RTVS isn't objective and is unsustainable in its current form. Meanwhile, the opposition, the RTVS management and several NGOs have criticised the government's draft, speaking about purpose-built changes.

Culture Minister Martina Šimkovičová (SNS nominee) opened the debate by explaining that creating a legislative environment is the first step for the successful operation of Slovak television and radio in the new digital media environment. The new law also foresees the possibility of better management, modernization and resources for awarding creators from an increased share of the advertising package. It also creates a platform for re-evaluating the current conditions of the dual system.

Šimkovičová argued that even after almost 14 years since the adoption of the current law, it has not been possible to fulfill its basic goals, such as stopping the indebtedness of public broadcasting and ensuring its financial consolidation. According to her, the broadcasting of public media gradually lost the attributes of balance, public law, independence, objectivity, truthfulness and transparency. "The effectiveness of spending entrusted public funds and the level of social credibility of these media are also problematic," she noted.

The government's draft law on Slovak Television and Radio (STVR) is bad in its essence, there is no reason to cancel the existing Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS) and establish a new institution that will be subordinate to the government. This was announced by MP for PS Zora Jaurová during the debate in parliament.

"The law is inherently bad and no amount of amendments or other improvements can hide the bare essence of the problem, which is the gratuitous dismantling of an existing public institution and the establishment of a new, identical, but entirely subordinate government, to remove the CEO and management and control the news. Jaurová said. She concluded that one of the few things about the public media, on which they would agree with part of the coalition, is the absence of sufficient, predictable funding that is as less as possible dependent on politicians. She criticized the changes made by the previous governments and asked why the presented proposal does not solve this.


Ben Pascoe, Photo: TASR

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