RTV to get more funds for ethnic minority programmes

Ljubljana, 27 November - The government will provide more funds to RTV Slovenija for its programmes for ethnic minorities in 2023 and 2024, in what seems to the beginning of the tackling of the dire financial situation at the public broadcaster with the help of the government. Just last week RTV said it would finish the year with a EUR 10.5 million loss.

Entrance to TV Slovenija.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

The Government Communications Offic (UKOM) announced more funds for ethnic minorities on Monday, but did not reveal the amount. TV Slovenija meanwhile reported that an additional EUR 5 million will be provided for this year, and EUR 10 million in 2024.

In line with the contract with the Government Office for National Minorities, RTV Slovenija received EUR 2.1 million this year, while the costs of the minority programmes for the year were planned at EUR 11.6 million, shows a document obtained by the STA.

The Office for National Minorities is in charge of implementing legislation related to the Italian and Hungarian ethnic minorities and the Roma community.

The RTV Slovenija management welcomed the additional funds as "truly the first good news since this management took office" and as "the first delivered promise after several governments had been promising to help RTV".

The public broadcaster has been in a difficult financial situation for several years, as the licence fee - the main source of funding - has not changed for years.

Chairman Zvezdan Martič told the news portal MMC that without the additional funds "we could have just resigned".

He said "the financial shortfall this year is too big, bordering on illiquidity, and we couldn't implement the production plan for next year, even in its slimmed-down version".

The management, having taken over a few months ago after new legislation entered into force, has been seeking ways to cut costs.

Several potential drastic measures have been mentioned, such as the abolition of certain shows, the entire music production and the regional Koper and Maribor units.

Last week, the governing council tasked the management board to assess the financial implications of each of the considered measures.

UKOM said today that due to the financial situation, representatives of the finance and culture ministries had met with the management board several times.

It was decided based on these meetings that "the government will provide additional funding for this year and next to finance programmes for ethnic minorities".

UKOM also said that RTV Slovenija's long-standing crisis could not be resolved by individual emergency measures alone.

This is why the government expects "the management to take an active approach to resolving the current situation and find an appropriate way to enable the functioning of RTV as a modern media service".

Martič said today that this is just the beginning. As the government said, "it is now up to us at RTV to find better, more efficient ways of doing business, of creating content, and of course we will continue to talk with the government to help us in other ways," he said.

© STA, 2023