The Slovenia Times

Slovenian journalists welcome EU's efforts for media protection


Ljubljana - The Association of Slovenian Journalists (DNS) welcomed on Friday the European Commission's decision "to finally create the minimal standards for protection of media plurality, journalist independence and public media". It noted that in Slovenia, most of the mechanisms introduced by the proposed media freedom act are already in place.

The DNS said in a press release that together with other European media organisations, it had participated in the collecting of citizens' signatures in 2014 as part of a European citizens' initiative for EU media legislation.

Since then, the situation in many countries, including Slovenia, has deteriorated significantly, while the Commission has had no instruments to act.

The DNS welcomed the fact that the Commission had decided to finally create the "minimal standards of protection of media plurality, journalist independence and public media, which it had so far persistently avoided".

The association labelled as positive the proposed measures aimed at protecting editorial independence, the provisions demanding independence of public media and their stable financing, recognising the importance of protection of media sources and the protection of journalists from illegal bugging and other forms of surveillance.

However, the DNS thinks the law could be more ambitious and unambiguous when it comes to the key areas for media freedom such as transparency and ownership concentration.

As for transposing the act to Slovenian legislation, the association said that even though "our media legislation is obsolete and faulty, we already have most of the mechanisms introduced by the media freedom act".

"But still we witnessed a near destruction of the STA and are now witnessing a continuation of this political attack on RTV Slovenija. It is almost certain that the new European legislation will not enable interventions in such cases that could change the situation in practice in real time."

The Culture Ministry could not say today whether the Slovenian legislation will need to be amended or not, noting it was yet to examine the proposed act in more detail.

It told the STA that Slovenian experts and representatives of the media had been involved in talks on the drawing up of the act and that Slovenia would also participate in the debate on the act at the level of the Council of the EU in the coming months.

The act will enter into force when its content is endorsed by the European Parliament, the ministry told the STA.

According to the DNS, a key solution is the oversight that will be exercised by the new European media services committee, which will extend regulation from audiovisual to all media. European media broadcasters are strongly resisting this regulation, the DNS said.

But the question is whether the new regulator will be more successful, the association added.

Nevertheless, the European Commission's insisting on the passage of the media legislation is a clear message that securing media freedom is important for the EU and ranks high on its agenda, the DNS said.


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