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National Assembly approves the government's amendment to the RTV Slovenia Act for the second time

Following yesterday's narrow veto vote by the National Council on the government's amendment to the RTV Slovenia Act, the National Assembly has again approved the proposed amendments. The amendment aims to remove politics from public service broadcasting and ensure its institutional and programme autonomy.

The main purpose of the new law is to ensure the full institutional and programmatic autonomy of RTV Slovenia and to protect its journalistic autonomy and editorial independence.

RTV Slovenia, as a public institution of special cultural and national importance, is obliged to carry out its statutory mission, based on the constitutionally protected right to freedom of expression or public information, which is crucial for the existence of democracy and thus of the state.

Among the main solutions, the aforementioned law submitted by the Government to the National Assembly provides for a new regulation of the management, administration and supervision of the public institution RTV Slovenia. Instead of the existing Programme and Supervisory Boards, it introduces a single management and supervisory body, the RTV Slovenia Council, which will consist of 17 members, in whose appointment civil society and RTV Slovenia employees will play a decisive role. This will completely remove the influence of party politics on the composition of the highest governance and supervisory body, as compared to the current system, the National Assembly no longer has the power to appoint members.

The law introduces a Finance Committee as a consultative body of the RTV Slovenia Council. Instead of a Director General, a four-member Board of Directors is introduced, which is a more appropriate governance model in the light of technological change and the existing media and communication environment. The existing directors of radio and television are joined by a Director of Digital Content, which will give a more equal and time-appropriate position to the new media activities.

In order to avoid irreversible consequences for the functioning of the State, the National Assembly considered and adopted the Bill at its 11th extraordinary sitting on 14 July 2022 under the urgent legislative procedure. In the Government's view, the current regime allows for a situation in which the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression of RTV Slovenia may be hindered, as it allows for state or political control of two key bodies of RTV Slovenia.

The influence of party politics on RTV Slovenia has had a number of negative consequences for RTV Slovenia, which are currently reflected in its declining public image and media relevance, the deteriorating quality of its programming and the lowering of its professional standards, which means that RTV Slovenia is finding it increasingly difficult to fulfil its public function, mission and role.

For these reasons, it is therefore imperative that the law be implemented as soon as possible, including the termination of the mandates of the members of the Programme and Supervisory Boards, the mandate of the committees attached to them, and the mandate of the Director General, the Director of Television and the Director of Radio. The retention of the mandates approved by the ruling policy in the National Assembly would completely defeat the main objective of the law, which is to put an end to the political control of the management, administration and control bodies of RTV Slovenia.