Shows for minorities struggling with staff, finance

Ljubljana, 7 June - Editors of media content dedicated to minorities spoke about the challenges they face in a round table debate on Wednesday, pointing to staff shortages and financial issues. They noted the importance of minority-focused media in the broader recognition of minorities in Slovenia and in connecting with the majority population.

At the event hosted by the Institute for Ethnic Studies, Saša Banjanac Lubej, the editor and presenter of the TV Slovenija show NaGlas! for ethnic communities that hail from former Yugoslav states, spoke about the issues faced by the show.

Banjanac Lubej said that the recent decision by the management of the public broadcaster to terminate cooperation with freelance journalists of the show had left her as the only remaining contributor as of the end of March.

According to her, the decision means that the show for the Albanian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, Croatian, Macedonian and Serbian communities in Slovenia is being cancelled in the form it was conceived eight years ago.

"Although limited, the show is still on the air but it cannot fulfil the conceived vision," Banjanac Lubej said, noting that the added value of the dismissed freelance journalists was that they spoke the languages of these respective communities.

Sandi Horvat, the editor of shows for the Roma community at RTV Slovenija, said he faced similar challenges, especially regarding the radio show, where he is the only employee and many times he has to prepare and host the show on his own.

Damian Fischer, who is a contributor and editor of the Koper-Capodistria Regional RTV Centre and a member of the RTV programme committee for the Italian minority, noted that the team had to cover multiple areas of work.

Fischer, who currently edits the prime time news show twice a week and a special 20-minute current affairs show on Fridays, highlighted the shortage of staff and finances as the largest issue.

"It is difficult to develop our culture because of the financial issue, but we work because our mission is to inform," he said.

Young people are interested in working as a journalist, but the problem for most of them is that they have to know Italian and Slovenian, and sometimes also Croatian. It is difficult to find someone with all these skills, he added.

Sandor Kovacs, a long-time contributor for the Hungarian radio station in Pomurje, said that the station could use a few more employees to function normally. "In Ljubljana, three people perform the work that is done here by one person."

The participants also noted that, in order to reach young generations, the minority media have created communication channels on the internet and social networks because "there is no future in the long run without this".

There were also calls to Slovenian counterparts from the mainstream media to more frequently cover minority-related topics and issues.

© STA, 2023