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Friday, March 1, 2024

Subtle blackmail has brought an additional 10 million euros to the RTV from the state treasury

By: T. B.

After the President of the RTV Slovenia Council, Goran Forbici, admitted on the show Odmevi that RTV Slovenia is struggling with a budget hole of more than 10 million euros, he also expressed the expectation that Golob’s government would come “to their aid” with funding. And indeed, Golob’s government has provided additional financial resources to the new leadership. They did not disclose the source, but it is likely clear to everyone – most probably through new taxation, as Forbici had already announced.

“Today, the @govSlovenia agreed to pay the first instalment for the performed ‘depoliticisation’ or ‘cleansing of Janša supporters’ at @RTV_Slovenija. The cost? 10 million euros of taxpayers’ money. The remaining instalments, the amounts of which are unknown, are still due for payment,” wrote the former acting Director-General of RTV Slovenia, Andrej Grah Whatmough, on X. According to reports, the government, as reported by STA, has provided financial assistance to RTV Slovenia, which will likely come from the pockets of taxpayers.

According to the Television of Slovenia, the government is said to have allocated an additional five million euros for funding programmes for nationalities this year and ten million euros for next year. The government stated that these financial injections are not a long-term solution, and “expects the leadership of the institution to actively approach the resolution of the current situation and find an appropriate way to enable RTV Slovenia to operate as a modern media service.” More detailed documentation about the talks with the government has not been disclosed by RTV Slovenia. However, an official document reveals the calculations demanded by the RTV Slovenia Council last week, which are being concealed from the public by the public broadcaster. The document states:

“The RTV Slovenia Council instructs management to prepare and submit calculations of the financial and personnel effects of the following potential measures by November 24th, 2023:

– Abolition of the Music Production Department

– Abolition of the Information Programme Unit of the 2nd TV Slovenia Programme

– Abolition of the radio programme for the foreign public (Radio Si)

– Abolition of the regional programme of Radio Koper

– Abolition of the regional programme of TV Koper

– Abolition of the regional programme of Radio Maribor

– Abolition of the regional programme of TV Maribor

– Abolition of the Media Library

– Abolition of the Publishing Activities of RTV Slovenia

– Progressive reduction of salaries in a way that the total saved amount is equal to the reduction of the average salary for one or two salary classes

– Abolition of broadcasting radio programmes on medium wave.

In individual programmatic measures, the calculations should also include data on the reach of each programme in the past twelve months. The calculations should separately include the effects in the first and second calendar year. It should also submit a list of all real estate owned by RTV Slovenia that is not essential for performing basic activities, with an estimate of their market value.”

Recall that last week, the President of the RTV Council, Goran Forbici, who was already preparing the ground for the confirmation of funding by the government in the show Odmevi, stated that they need 23 million euros for the current and next year to provide people with what the RTV law dictates. He emphasised that they are counting on government assistance, which, as usual, will once again come from the pockets of citizens. Otherwise, nothing else could be expected, as after awards to NGOs, now it is the turn of RTV.

“The purge of Janša supporters” at RTV, which was planned by both the new leadership of the public broadcaster and Golob’s government since the adoption of the RTV Act amendment, is now demanding its reward. While we might have expected the public television to flourish after the “depoliticisation”, they suddenly find themselves in a budget hole of more than 10 million euros. Upon the news of providing money, the non-governmental – governmental organisation I8m, which actively participated and financially contributed to the referendum on the purge at RTVS along with the Gibanje Svoboda party, spoke out. The public broadcaster is now in even greater trouble than before. As usual, they try to blame the previous government for this.

The question that arises is why they are already forecasting a deficit for the next year when they have now appointed the “right and more capable” staff. Forbici stated in Odmevi show that they will have a 13-million-euro hole next year as well. “The clinically dead government will take OUR money, which it claims has run out (justifying draconian taxation), and redistribute it wherever it ideologically sees fit,” commented political analyst Mitja Iršič, responding to a statement by the Minister of Culture, Asta Vrečko, who highlighted that representatives of the Ministries of Finance and Culture had met with members of the management. After evaluating the situation, it was agreed that the government would provide additional funds for financing programmes for nationalities for this and the next year.

To ensure stable funding, they already have a plan, namely, as Forbici stated, not only to increase the RTV fee but even to transform it into a new progressive tax. According to him, a proposal to amend the RTV Act is already on the table, although it has not been widely reported, even though public television is obligated to report on matters that concern everyone, as everyone is required to pay the RTV fee. “The key problem is that the RTV subscription has not been raised for 11 years, it is not adjusted for inflation, while costs, not only due to inflation but also due to the increase in the salaries of public servants, are rising,” said Forbici. However, he seems to forget that it is precisely this government that helped them in the “takeover” of RTV leadership that recklessly raised salaries despite all well-intentioned warnings about the consequences.

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