RTV management demands proof of pressure on Studio City team

Ljubljana – Responding to a protest letter from the Trade Union of Journalists (SNS) which speaks of pressure on the staff of the popular current affairs show Studio City, the management of the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija rejected the accusations, demanding proof of the claims or in the opposite case, an apology.

In Friday’s press release, the management of the public broadcaster strongly rejected the accusations of pressure and regretted that the trade union decided not to conduct direct dialogue with the management before addressing the public.

It said that such a way of communication was inadmissible damaging the reputation of the public broadcaster, adding that such an approach failed to enable constructive dialogue.

The letter was penned after Studio City, a TV Slovenija show hosted by Marcel Štefančič since 1998, was suspended two months ago, whereupon the host’s contract was not extended. The management has since announced that the show will return in May in a changed format and with a new host.

The SNS called on the management on Thursday to stop exerting pressure on Studio City’s team, saying it intended to use all legal and other means to protect their professional integrity, which is now threatened, including from the TV Slovenija news programme editor-in-chief.

The management said in Friday’s press release that it demanded from the trade union to present clear explanations and proof of the alleged pressure from the management on the editors of the show.

“If there has been undue pressure on the creators of Studio City, we will take appropriate action, otherwise we expect an apology from the union and retraction of the statements.”

The management assessed that the SNS’s demand that Štefančič return to the show as host exceeded its competences, as the content of the programme is entirely within the powers of the editor-in-chief, who is also legally responsible for it.

It reiterated that the contract with Štefančič was not terminated but expired at the end of March, and that the management decided not to renew it due to his “insulting statements”.

The Mladinsko Theatre meanwhile announced that Štefančič would host a special edition of Studio City on Monday at the Mladinsko Theatre live. A ticket will cost two euro, and the show will also be streamed online.

Editors of RTV Slovenija TV programmes meanwhile urged director general Andrej Grah Whatmough in a statement obtained by the STA to find a solution to the benefit of the public broadcaster and the viewers. They said Studio City was a very important show and a trade mark of RTV Slovenija, so any changes that would not be coordinated with the editors, journalists and hosts could damage RTV Slovenija’s reputation.