By: Sara Rančigaj /Nova24tv
Representatives of the opposition and the Gibanje Svoboda party wrote a protest letter, in which they flatly state about the irregularities and pressures that journalists on RTV Slovenia are allegedly experiencing. Director of RTV Slovenia Andrej Grah Whatmough emphasised that the management of RTV Slovenia never put pressure on journalists and editors of RTV Slovenia programmes, as none of the many organisations ever drew attention to them. The president of the RTV Slovenia programming council, Peter Gregorčič, believes that the signed politicians have a desire to subordinate the media space and thus strengthen their political power. “I note, however, that such attempts at political subordination of the media constitute an inadmissible encroachment on media freedom as one of the key preconditions for a free democratic society,” he warned.
The parties LMŠ, Social Democrats, Levica, SAB and the Gibanje Svoboda united in a protest statement by the leaders over the subordination of public radio and television. Marjan Šarec, Tanja Fajon, Luka Mesec, Alenka Bratušek and Dr Robert Golob decided to support the protesters on RTV. “We strongly support the public warnings of RTV Slovenia employees about the irregularities and pressures they experience almost every day in their work,” they wrote.
They say that together with them they are appalled by the dismantling of public radio and television, which follows the long-term exhaustion of the Slovenian Press Agency. “Democracy and the attributes of our statehood are being destroyed with the angry attack and subordination of public media services.” The management of RTV replied that they strongly support journalistic and editorial independence and condemn any abuse of the public institution RTV Slovenia to gain political points.
The opposition is misleading that we are witnessing complete circumvention of laws and violations of regulations – from the formation of the supervisory and programming council to the double appointment of the director general of RTV Slovenia, the election of the director of TV Slovenia, the editor-in-chief and MMC RTV Slovenia. The management of RTV firmly rejected the written allegations. “Appointments to the management positions of individual units and editorial offices are made in accordance with legislation and internal acts. Changes in the programme scheme were also planned in accordance with the established procedure, and the reasons for them have already been explained to the public several times,” they explained on RTV.
The opposition went a step further and even said that RTV was about intimidating journalists, destroying their independence and professional integrity, and transforming RTV Slovenia into a government trumpet. “The management of RTV Slovenia has never put pressure on journalists and editors of RTV Slovenia programmes. The fact that the leadership never put pressure on the creators is shown only by the fact that none of the many organisations (unions and working groups) ever informed the management of any case of pressure, but the opposite leadership repeatedly warned the public about unacceptable pressure from politicians, organisations and condemned the other public to journalists, editors, and editors-in-chief,” they explained to opposition leaders and Golob.
On RTV, they say they have always followed the law
The parties point out that the hastily introduced changes in TV programmes, which are supposed to bring more viewers, have a clear common denominator, namely the abuse of the public service and its complete instrumentalization in the hands of one party. The management of RTV replied that they were always following the law and in accordance with internal acts. “This is also shown by yesterday’s decision of the court, which rejected the proposed interim order in the case of the Implementing Act for the Multimedia Centre and thus fully endorsed the general management of RTV Slovenia. On Monday, the Labour Inspectorate found that the management of the public institution did not interfere in the bodies of the institution,” wrote the director general of RTV Slovenia Andrej Grah Whatmough.
With their publicly expressed support, KUL and Golob undertake to create a new legal framework immediately after the elections, “which will enable professional and independent work of RTV Slovenia journalists without political interference in their work and professional management of the public media house”. In the letter, Whatmough also emphasised that the management of RTV Slovenia will always strive for professional and independent work of journalists, without political interference in their work, and will continue to professionally lead the public media house.
Gregorčič sees the protest statement as political pressure on RTV
The authors of the protest letter note that RTV Slovenia is not only a bringer and creator of informative content. It is one of the cornerstones of the Slovenian nation’s identity and a key pillar of a democratic society. “Therefore, we urgently need to end its dangerous political subordination,” they concluded. “I understand the protest statement of the leaders of the opposition as political pressure on the public service broadcaster RTV Slovenia. I regret that some prominent political actors are unable to resist the temptation to use their political power to openly attack the leadership, the Programme and Supervisory Board, and the editors of RTV Slovenia,” said the President of the RTV Slovenia Programme Council Dr Peter Gregorčič.
The latter also believes that the signed politicians have a desire to subjugate the media space and thus strengthen their political power. “I warn, however, that such attempts at political subordination of the media represent an inadmissible encroachment on media freedom as one of the key preconditions for a free democratic society,” he said and explained that in the public letter they cite flat-out accusations that they do not substantiate with anything and attack individual editors who do not suit them. “I consider the gross pressure of prominent political actors on the public service broadcaster RTV Slovenia for the needs of the political campaign to be inadmissible,” he said, concluding that they would continue to carry out the mission required by law.