Valentin Areh endorsed as acting TV Slovenija director

Ljubljana – The programming council of RTV Slovenija gave the green light on Monday to appoint Valentin Areh acting director of the public broadcaster’s TV programme section, TV Slovenija. The move comes after Natalija Gorščak was dismissed from the post on 20 August.

RTV Slovenija director general Andrej Grah Whatmough said that he will sign the decision on Areh’s appointment this evening or tomorrow morning.

A journalist since the early 1990s, Areh, 50, will take over on Tuesday.

He worked for private broadcaster POP TV in 1996-2010 and joined TV Slovenija’s news programme in 2010. He has reported from several wars, including in the Balkans, Chechnya and Iraq.

The council voted 19:2 for Areh’s appointment for up to six months or until a full-fledged director is appointed. Two members abstained and one did not vote.

Presenting his bid, Areh said drafting a good quality production plan for the broadcaster for 2022 would be his priority.

He also intends to involve journalists and anchors in the drafting of the document, while it has been mostly editors that used to provide input in the past.

The new acting head would also like to establish ties with the most successful European public broadcasters, such as BBC, ZDF and ORF, to share experience.

He agrees RTV Slovenija is in a crisis of relations, which he believes affects the quality of production. He thinks that he will not have the time to address it, though.

Areh expects no problems in cooperation with editors-in-chief, while he sees management, organisation and ratings as TV Slovenija’s main challenges. He would raise ratings with quality work and quality production.

Turning to Tarča, an investigative current affairs show, he said it was a priority show, which unlike other TV Slovenija news shows has seen a rise in ratings in recent years.

Another show that has drawn criticism in right-wing media, Studio City, “has stable ratings, which means viewers are not leaving it, so it should be kept”, Areh said.

Director general Grah Whatmough plans to publish a call for applications for a full-fledged director after the broadcaster’s 2022 production and financial plans have been adopted.

The council also got acquainted today with Grah Whatmough’s dismissal of Gorščak over her violating bylaws and allowing ratings to plummet and with him acting as TV Slovenija director since her dismissal.

Gorščak filed a suit against RTV Slovenija at a labour court, which rejected last week her proposal to stay her dismissal until the final decision in the case.

The Ljubljana Labour Court maintains the procedure of employment termination was not violated when she was sacked without a previous opinion of the programming council.

Grah Whatmough asked the council to get acquainted with his proposal, but when it met on 16 August, it was inquorate, which have Grah Whatmough sole discretion to dismiss her.