The EBU urges proper public consultation and engagement with key stakeholders on the funding model of RTVS, Slovakia’s national public service media, and is concerned by the Slovakian government’s plan, announced this week, to suppress the licence fee that accounts for more than half of RTVS’s revenue, thereby jeopardising the proper functioning of RTVS.
Proper funding of public service media is a key Council of Europe (CoE) standard and is boldly emphasized in many CoE Recommendations, in particular Recommendation CM/Rec (2012)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on public service media governance. Art 26 stipulates that “(…) it inevitably remains the State’s responsibility to set both the method and the level of funding, (…) it is nevertheless imperative that (…) the funding provided is adequate to meet the agreed role and remit of the public service media, including offering sufficient security for the future as to allow reasonable future planning and the process for deciding the level of funding should not be able to interfere with the public service media’s editorial autonomy.”
Moreover, the Amsterdam Protocol of the Treaty of the European Union discerns that public service broadcasting should meet certain social, cultural, and democratic needs of society and plays a crucial role in maintaining pluralism in the media.
The EBU supports statements by RTVS Director General Ľuboš Macaj that a change in funding model calls for discussions with Slovakia’s Ministry of Culture and for legislation that would guarantee a solution to the long-term underfunding of RTVS as well as its independence from political interests, in line with European standards.