June 12, 2024

12.06.2024 – Slovakia: Proposed Law Could Undermine the Independence of Public Media

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is asking Members of the Parliament (MP) in Slovakia to reject the proposed public service broadcasting law set for parliamentary review next week. The new structure would lead to the politicization of the broadcaster, violating the European Media Freedom Act.

The regulation, aiming to replace Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS – https://www.rtvs.sk/) with Slovak Television and Radio (STVR), is scheduled for parliamentary discussion next week. The draft prepared the final draft in May 2024.

If enacted, the bill would also lead to the premature removal of the current Director-General and supervisory board. The new Director-General would be appointed by the new STVR Board. The new STVR board should have nine members, five appointed by the Parliament and four by the Ministry of Culture. As result we would have a clear political control of the public media by the ruling party. The ruling coalition has allegedly frequently accused the public media and its journalists of bias, one side view and political activism, openly expressing its desire to exert control through this ‘reform.’

Furthermore, the law fails to secure adequate, stable, and independent funding essential for STVR’s independence and its public service mission. In 2023, Slovakia replaced the licence fee model with direct state funding, increasing the broadcaster’s reliance on the government.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the proposed public service broadcasting law in Slovakia, which threatens to undermine the independence of public media by enabling government control over the new entity, Slovak Television and Radio (STVR).

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

#fyp #mediafreedom #seemo #freespeech #southeasteuropemediaorganisation #ngo #journalist #slovakia #RTVS #SEEMO #pressfreedom #mediafreedom #freemedia