The legislative changes would reallocate eight per cent of the prescription fee for RTV Slovenija, giving three per cent to the Slovenian Press Agency, STA, and the rest to other media. That money for the STA currently comes from the budget.
The public broadcaster would also lose revenue from its transmitting business, which would be reallocated to a new fully state-owned company.
The government argues that RTV’s losses would be compensated for by a loosening of restrictions on advertising. Stare said the public broadcaster was already over-burdened with commercials.
“It leads to the commercialisation of the public media,” Stare said.
Presenting the legislation to parliament’s Culture Committee on July 10, Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti said the law on RTV Slovenija had undergone only minor changes over the past 15 years and that the amendments proposed by the government were “very minimal but substantively important”.
Kadunc, the RTV director general, who also addressed the Committee, urged the government to withdraw the proposals.
He pointed out that the public broadcaster had already been cutting costs and jobs to compensate for a long decline in revenues. The new funding cuts would lead to 600 layoffs, he warned.
Political scientist Alem Maksuti said RTV Slovenija was paying the price for its unbiased coverage, an affront to Jansa, he said, for whom state media should toe the government line.
“That is, of course, a reflection of an Orbanist approach,” he said, referring to the Hungarian prime minister, “where the leading party tries to usurp public media in its own political interest.”
The funding changes, he said, were about a “takeover of a certain part of the financial cake that foes to public media and channeling it to some commercial media that are in the service of the SDS.”