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An opportunity for decision-makers, producers and creators of audiovisual content to exchange views

The Minister of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia Vasko Simoniti opened a conference "Increasing the accessibility and competitiveness of European audiovisual and media content", which took place in Cankarjev dom congress center in Ljubljana as well as online from 12 to 13 October 2021.

Speech by Minister of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia Vasko Simoniti

Distinguished Director Abbamonte, distinguished representatives of European delegations, directors of film and media organisations, creators.

I warmly welcome you to the conference entitled “Increasing the Availability and Competitiveness of European Audiovisual and Media Content” in Ljubljana. I am pleased that Ljubljana is hosting such distinguished representatives of European and national institutions together with content creators who co-shape and enrich our mental world and thus also our views on the world in which we live.

A strong European audiovisual sector means a sector that is competitive in the global market with content that not only showcases all the culture and linguistic richness of diverse Europe but, with its originality and creativity, gives users insight into exciting interpretations of the past, present and future at all levels of social, political and intimate human life. A strong media sector is one that provides citizens credible information so that they can make responsible and critical decisions on the most key issues for the development of society and democracy.

We live in a technological reality which we cannot always influence. We may also not know it well enough to take advantage of it, or to avoid the traps posed by fast and likeable content. The creativity of the human spirit has, of course, also led to technological solutions which have proved welcome and useful especially during the COVID-19 epidemic in the last year and a half. European, and all other viewers, have been given access to our best content. They have a choice of options that were almost non-existent a few years ago. And yet most of them miss the human touch and the darkness of the cinema.

So let me invite you at the end of this first day of our conference to the screening of Valley of Peace, a restored masterpiece of a post-war Slovenian film made almost seventy years ago, whose realistic and symbolic language invites us to commit to life, nobility, peace and unstoppable longing. This restored version of the film was created precisely because digital solutions have made it possible for films made in analogue times to be part of our future.

We must learn that virtual and physical worlds coexist and are not mutually exclusive, and that digital transformation establishes long-term development while respecting a level playing field for all market participants and the fundamental principles of freedom of expression and creation.

The conference enables the confrontation of the views of representatives of different decision-making groups at the European and national levels on the one hand and the opinions of producers and content creators on the other. Therefore, this is a great opportunity for different stakeholders to listen and understand, as the purpose of the conference is not only to reach a political consensus, but to understand and shed light on various aspects of current production and distribution of audiovisual works and media content.

The European Commission has established an important action plan for the recovery of the media and audiovisual sectors with a number of measures that will have long-term positive effects on the sustainable development of these sectors. It is also important that the measures are followed by a review of the achievement of the objectives, the participation of the member states and the adaptation to new market conditions. However, we should not forget that it is not only the market that is important – the measures are intended to preserve the cultural and technological autonomy of the sector. The biggest challenge for European and national policies is therefore how to make creative and cultural diversity our greatest advantage. The results of the conference will thus make an important contribution to the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

I wish you every success in your work.