Staff put forward bill to overhaul RTV Slovenija

Ljubljana – Four prominent long-serving members of staff at RTV Slovenija (RTVS) have drawn up a bill in which they propose transforming the public broadcaster into a fully independent public broadcasting service overseen by a board of trustees.

The bill’s authors, Zoran Medved, Boris Bergant, Marjan Kralj and Marjan Lah, note that the current RTV act, which was to be replaced by a new law endorsed in a referendum 11 years ago, has become outdated with the technological advances, development of new media and media platforms and media convergence rendering the broadcaster’s organisation and management model obsolete.

They believe a consensus has been reached in public on the need to reform media legislation, but they deem it “unacceptable that the substance that concerns the foundations of our democracy and […] human rights and freedoms should be decided only on the basis of ‘arguments’ of power of the ruling majority at any one time […] and closed interest groups and lobbies”.

In the bill, which they offer for broad public debate, they propose changing the RTVS’s status from a public institute to an autonomous public institution of special social, cultural and national importance created to perform a public media service.

The public service is defined comprehensively and in greater detail, setting out, for example, mandatory public consultation before introducing new programmes and new services. It also better separates public and commercial activities and all but bans advertising.

Advertisements and sell-on-TV would no longer be on the programmes of RTV Slovenija, which would be able to market air time for advertising only when buying rights to broadcast major sporting, cultural or charity events.

Instead of the current “seemingly corporate model of management” entailing a supervisory board, the bill authors propose a 7-member management board and a board of 11 trustees as the oversight body. Changes also entail participation of staff in management.

They also propose reforming the licence fee model so that fees would depend on the taxpayer’s income; those in the first two income brackets would pay less than now and those in brackets higher up more, in proportion to their income.