LMŠ MEPs write to Commissioner Jourova over media reform
Joveva and Grošelj say that they have been observing with concern reports about the changes, "drawn up hastily and secretly" at the Culture Ministry without the participation of stakeholders and experts.
In the letter to Jourova, the Commission vice-president responsible for values and transparency, they outlined some of the proposed changes that they said would have far-reaching consequences for the media industry in Slovenia and above all for the country's democracy.
The pair highlighted the substantial financial cuts planned for RTV Slovenija, saying they would turn the public broadcaster from a provider of a public service into yet another media outlet.
The income from RTVS's licence fee would also be distributed to other media in what the MEPs say is meant to further selected media that are under the direct control of the senior coalition Democrats (SDS).
The changes also affect the STA, which would no longer be supported directly from the budget - the share of the state's support in the STA budget has been falling - but from the RTVS fee.
The levers for appointments of the agency's leadership would pass into the hands of the government, which Joveva, a former STA journalist, and Grošelj said meant a major step backward in efforts to secure the STA's autonomy and independence.
They said the main purpose of the changes is securing government control over media, which would destroy stable and independent reporting, "the pillars of any democratic society".
The MEPs called on the commissioner to preserve media independence in the EU, to continue highlighting violations of media freedom and thus "open a debate on an actual case at the European level as well".
The proposed changes to media legislation, unveiled by the Culture Ministry last Thursday, have drawn strong criticism in Slovenia as well as abroad, both for the content and for what were initially only five working days envisaged for public consultation. The public consultation period has now been extended until early September.