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EBU raises concerns over RTV Slovenija funding

European Broadcasting Union (EBU) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Broadcasting Union, the consortium of public-service broadcasters in Europe, has expressed its concern over proposed changes to the funding of Slovenia’s public-service broadcaster.

The proposed amendments to the Slovenia Radio and Television Act set to significantly reduce RTV Slovenija’s annual budget of around €13m ($14.8m). The EBU claimed that they would also marginalise RTV Slovenija’s role in the future.

EBU director general Noel Curran said: “We are profoundly concerned about the future of public-service broadcasting in Slovenia. We have written to the Slovenian authorities today [Tuesday] to raise our concerns and ask them to provide more time for proper public discussion of the changes to funding to ensure all views can be heard.”

RTV Slovenia holds certain sports rights through contributions to wider EBU deals such as the International Biathlon Union events and Tour de France.

The public-service broadcaster also currently holds a host of other rights, including rights to the Uefa Europa League, the top-tier Slovenian football league, and the Tokyo Olympic Games (that will now take place in 2021).

The EBU joined the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) in raising its concerns and highlighting the “extremely short period of five days envisaged for public discussions”.

The EBU stated: “RTVSLO has already been facing financial challenges with the current licence fee, which has not been changed since 2012, while the content and platform demands have been constantly increasing. The suggested changes to the funding of RTVSLO will result in a significant decrease of RTVSLO’s budget of around €13m.

“This will jeopardise and greatly challenge the fulfilment of public service media’s remit which, as defined by the Law, has to serve all segments of society to inform, educate and entertain.”

The EBU is not afraid of making itself heard on behalf of its members. Earlier this year, the EBU made a public statement defending UA:PBC, the national broadcaster in Ukraine, warning that the future of its member broadcaster was being threatened by calls for it to settle debts racked up by its predecessor.