The EBU is calling on the Slovenian authorities to restrain from exerting undue political pressure on the public broadcaster RTVSLO in these challenging times.
RTVSLO is playing a critical role in helping the state fight the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and is currently stretched to its limits.
The Slovenian government's attacks on RTVSLO's employment, financial and programme policies are not supported by empirical data. While of course welcoming criticism, we fear the accusations seek to undermine the independence of the public broadcaster and the competencies of their management and supervisory bodies.
There are already regulatory mechanisms in place to scrutinize the proper functioning of RTVSLO, in compliance with the law, which provide checks and balances against the institutional independence and autonomy of the broadcaster.
Public service media's (PSM) independence is crucial for providing a genuine service to citizens. This is stipulated in numerous European standards and CoE instruments, and in particular CoE Committee of Ministers Recommendation No. R 96 (10) on the independence of PSB and CoE Recommendation CM/Rec (2012) 1 on PSM governance.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, PSM have proved, more than ever, their indispensable role in society by providing trusted and verified information, important updates and statements, educational programmes, community support and entertainment. PSM is gaining huge audiences and appreciation levels throughout the continent but it's essential that they are allowed to continue to work autonomously if they are to retain the trust of their viewers.
Working in extraordinary circumstances, RTVSLO is not only continuing to fulfil its broad remit and serve all groups in society, including people with hearing and sight impairments, but is increasing its relevant content, particularly in news and current affairs. All these services RTVSLO is doing within the constraints of an outdated legal and financial framework. The funding model of RTVSLO needs an urgent update to ensure it receives adequate funding to allow it to fulfil its important mission to society and a technical upgrade in line with fast-changing technological developments.
We urge the Slovenian government to respect the institutional independence of the public broadcaster and secure its financial sustainability.