3 September 2002

Alert

New Act on Salaries and Reimbursement in the Public Sector threatens public service broadcaster's independence



(IPI/IFEX) - The following is a 30 August 2002 IPI letter to Slovenian President Milan Kucan:


His Excellency Milan Kucan

President of the Republic of Slovenia

Erjavceva ulica

SI-1000 Ljubljana

Slovenia


Vienna, 30 August 2002


Your Excellency,


The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, is deeply concerned about the new Act on Salaries and Reimbursement in the Public Sector, which we fear could represent a serious threat to the independence of the Slovenian public service broadcaster, RTV SLO.


The Act, which was passed by Parliament in April 2002 and will become effective in 2003, considers the public broadcaster as a State institution, thereby classifying RTV SLO's staff as civil servants.


IPI believes that this new law, which was passed despite the opposition of both RTV SLO's management and the journalists' union, could bring RTV SLO under increased political influence and undermine its editorial independence.


Incorporating public broadcasting into the civil service is contrary to practices in all EU Member States. Moreover, the new regulation violates international agreements, including Council of Europe Recommendation No. R. (96) 10 on the Guarantee of the Independence of Public Service Broadcasting.


The independence of the electronic media is essential for the functioning of a democratic society. After the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, RTV SLO, which obtains 76 per cent of its funding from license fees and less than one per cent of its budget from government revenues, provided a shining example of the development of independent public service broadcasting in Central and Eastern Europe. However, the Act on Salaries and Reimbursement in the Public Sector would clearly undermine this independence, while the rigid system of fixed salaries would also prevent the public broadcaster from attracting talent and competing effectively with commercial stations.


IPI therefore urges Your Excellency to do everything in your power to ensure that the management and staff of RTV SLO are excluded from the new regulation and that the independence of public broadcasting in Slovenia is upheld.


We thank you for your attention.


Yours sincerely,


Johann P. Fritz

Director


Cc:

Dr. Janez Drnovsek, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia

Ms. Andreja Rihter, Minister of Culture

Dr. Rado Bohinc, Minister of the Interior

Mr. Borut Pahor, President of the National Assembly

Recommended Action


Similar appeals can be sent to:


His Excellency Milan Kucan

President of the Republic of Slovenia

Erjavceva ulica

SI-1000 Ljubljana

Slovenia

E-mail: spela.furlan@up-rs.si


Please copy appeals to the source if possible.




Source

International Press Institute
Spiegelgasse 2
1010 Vienna
Austria
ipi (@) freemedia.at
Fax:+43 1 5129014
Slovenia
 
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