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Radio council rejects cancellation of Sro’s international service

THE SLOVAK Radio Council, a body that oversees the operation of the public broadcaster, rejected Slovak Radio (SRo) management plans to halt its international broadcasts.

Culture Minister František Tóth, who advocates the continuation of the international service, also attended the special meeting of the council on July 19.

Director General of Slovak Radio Jaroslav Rezník claims that the station is in a critical financial situation and it needs to reshape its programme structure and take cost cutting measures, the daily SME reported.

Rezník said that the new broadcast structure could have saved Sk130 million (€3.35 million) for the broadcaster. However, the management still does not know how to solve additional losses of Sk200 million (€5.15 million).

Rezník added that one solution would be to make changes to the law on monthly listener fees.

Head of the SRo supervisory commission, Roman Černák, said that the money saved through the cancellation of the international broadcast (Sk13.5 million) would cover only five percent of the real losses.

Head of the SRo Council Michal Dzurjanin said that the state should guarantee the service. The Foreign Affairs Ministry supports the service, although it does not have the authority to pay for it.

The Finance Ministry claims that priorities should be set by the Culture Ministry. Tóth promised to analyze the situation but the SRo management remains sceptical about the eventual outcomes.

Tóth said that the public broadcaster, could reduce rather than cancel the international service altogether.

Head of the international service Ladislav Kubiš says that the daily thirty minutes in five foreign languages is already at a minimum.

"The government does not have the courage to openly say that it does not want the international service," he added.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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