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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The response of the RTV Slovenia management to the public letter of the University of Ljubljana

By: L. K. F., RTV

In the middle of last week, the rectorate of the University of Ljubljana sent to the public a statement from the University in support of the independent RTV Slovenia. Today, the director general of RTV Andrej Grah Whatmough answered them that the management of the public media institute always strives to act independently of political and other interests. In response to the rector’s accusations that there are threats of dismissals and disciplinary procedures and other invisible pressures on journalists at RTV, Grah Whatmough said that these were untrue statements. And in the future, in the light of objectivity and the acquisition of all information, the rector should first contact the management of RTV before addressing the public.

In the following, both letters are published in their entirety.

Dear Dr Gregor Majdič,

On September 8th, 2022, we received your letter in which you express your concern about what is happening at RTV Slovenia and urge us to protect the independence of the journalistic and editorial activities of the employees.

Just as the University strives to realise its mission, independent of political and other interests, the management of the public media institute always strives to act in the public interest. Public media services, like the University, are one of the key foundations of a democratic space, which must be protected and nurtured, and with their operation they set an example of modern organisation, technological excellence, and political independence.

We sincerely appreciate your concern for this and at the same time assure you that the allegations about threats and pressure on employees are untrue. The management of RTV Slovenia constantly strives to resolve the dialogue with some dissatisfied employees within the institution, at the negotiating table, last week we even proposed mediation, which would enable the normalisation of the situation in the Information Programme of Television Slovenia. But you must understand us that just as at the University it is not permissible for employees to act contrary to the rules, adopted house rules and acts, so also at RTV Slovenia we cannot allow a part of the employees to solve their dissatisfaction by breaking into the studio and in this way burden RTV contribution payers. Management is not only allowed, but must act prudently and legally, and this is how it acted in the last case as well.

Dear Mr. Majdič, the management of RTV Slovenia is always ready for a constructive conversation and exchange of opinions, so we will be happy if you contact us for clarification in the future in the light of objectivity and obtaining all the information before addressing the public.

Andrej Grah Whatmough, general director of RTV Slovenia

And below is the statement of the University of Ljubljana in support of the independent RTV Slovenia, which was sent to the public by Polona Movrin, head of the department for public relations, organisation, and protocol, otherwise a former Pop TV journalist.

The University of Ljubljana highlights the importance of public broadcasting and quality information

Ljubljana, September 7th, 2022 – The University of Ljubljana, in the light of continuing the tradition of European university education based on humanism and enlightenment, wherein an extremely important part of this mission is quality education and informing the public, once again highlights the importance of the independent operation of public radio and television. In modern times, public media are of inestimable importance for the responsible management of society. With an alarming increase in disinformation, the influence of social media in the private ownership of a handful of global actors and increased social polarisation, the high standards of the journalistic profession, the independence of reporting and resistance to political and other pressures that do not belong to the domain of the public good are a condition to remain open, on an informed dialogue-based society.

That is why we at the University of Ljubljana are following with concern what is happening at RTV Slovenia, which should operate as a high-quality public service. Threats of dismissals and disciplinary procedures and other invisible pressures on journalists are unacceptable for the management and operation of our public radio and television. As the central academic institution in Slovenia, we are obliged to call for the protection of the independence of journalistic and editorial activities of employees in accordance with the highest professional standards.

RTV Slovenia is our common public good, and the autonomy of journalistic and editorial work is the foundation of acting in the interest of the public.

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