STA, 17 April 2020 - The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has called on the Slovenian authorities to restrain from exerting undue political pressure on the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija in the challenging times of the coronavirus epidemic.
In Thursday's statement published on the EBU website and cited by RTV Slovenija on Friday, the organisation said that "RTV Slovenija is playing a critical role in helping the state fight the Covid-19 pandemic and is currently stretched to its limits."
The European alliance of public service media organisations also argues that the Slovenian government's attacks on the public broadcaster's employment, financial and programme policies are not supported by empirical data.
"While of course welcoming criticism, we fear the accusations seek to undermine the independence of the public broadcaster and the competencies of their management and supervisory bodies," the statement reads.
The organisation is sure that there are already regulatory mechanisms in place to scrutinize the proper functioning of RTV Slovenija, which provide checks and balances against its institutional independence and autonomy.
The statement is a response to the pressure and allegations against RTV Slovenija, including in a letter the government sent last week to the Council of Europe to claim that the majority of the main media in Slovenia stem from the Communist regime.
In early April, PM Janez Janša accused RTV Slovenija of lying in a tweet targeting an interview with a trade unionist who expressed indignation about the government's intention to raise its pay, from which the government later backtracked.
Janša also said at the time that "we pay you to keep us informed in these times, not to mislead the public. Apparently there are too many of you and you are paid to well."
The EBU also took the opportunity to note that RTV Slovenija's legal and financial framework was outdated, and that it needed urgent update to ensure it receives adequate funding and technical upgrade in line with technological developments.
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