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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Council of State voted to veto the amendment to the RTVS Act: It is a very sleight of hand intervention in a very important institution; even the opponents of the veto estimated that the law would have to be refined later

By: C. R., STA

At the extraordinary session, the Council of State voted with 16 votes for and 15 against a suspensive veto on the amendment to the Act on RTVS, with which the government, in its opinion, wants to withdraw politics from the institute. Supporters of the veto are mainly bothered by the speed of change of management bodies at RTVS, while opponents complain that the veto is merely defending the valid mandates of certain groups.

A group of state councillors, with Matjaž Gams as the first signatory, submitted a proposal for a decision on a deferred veto on the law because, among other things, they are disturbed by the speed of the change of decision-making bodies at the institution. This mandate ceases to be valid on the date of entry into force of the law, while the newly introduced board of Radiotelevisija Slovenija (RTVS) is then constituted within 60 days at the latest. According to the proponents of the veto, this represents an unreasonably short period of time.

The veto was supported, among others, by an interest group of local interests. As Milan Ozimič, the head of the mentioned group, explained at today’s meeting of the State Council, they agree that it is a very sleight of hand intervention in a very important institution. The institution’s problems are of a broader and deeper origin and cannot be resolved through such a simplified path, he warned.

On the other hand, opposition to the veto was expressed by the members of the commission of the State Council for Culture, who at today’s session of the commission rejected the proposal for a suspensive veto, explained the president of the commission, Branimir Štrukelj. The majority of the members of the commission believe that limiting the influence of political parties on the operation of RTVS is an essential element of this law.

The opposition to the veto was also expressed in the interest group of employees, where they were not convinced by the reasoning of the veto proponents, said the leader of the group, Lidija Jerkič. According to Jerkič, the stated argumentation for the veto is more like a defence of the valid mandates of certain groups.

Opponents of the veto also assessed that the law would need to be amended later.

The Government’s amendment to the Act on RTVS was adopted by the National Assembly with 53 votes in favour and 26 against on Thursday.

The purpose of the amendment to the Act on RTVS is to change the current way of managing the institute so that politics withdraws from the institute, that political subordination and interference in personnel and editorial decisions are impossible, and that the institute is returned to the public and employees, reminded the Minister for Culture Asta Vrečko at today’s session.

Among other things, the amendment introduces a single council with 17 members instead of the current 29-member programme board and 11-member supervisory board of the institution. None of them will be appointed by the National Assembly.

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