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KDH MP says public broadcasting agreement needs more discussion

A tentative agreement between the Slovak government and the public service Slovak Television (STV) and Slovak Radio (SRo) won't strengthen the independence of these media, said KDH (Christian Democrat) MP Pavol Abrhan in parliament on April 16, reported the TASR newswire.

A tentative agreement between the Slovak government and the public service Slovak Television (STV) and Slovak Radio (SRo) won't strengthen the independence of these media, said KDH (Christian Democrat) MP Pavol Abrhan in parliament on April 16, reported the TASR newswire.

The agreement is designed to tackle funding issues involving these state-owned media and entails amending the legislation governing STV and SRo. Abrhan, chairman of the Parliamentary Culture and Media Committee, says that he understands the need to channel additional money into the media, but that this form of financing is not good. As there is the possibility of financing STV and SRo via bank loans, Abrhan said that this makes discussion in parliament on various ways of financing these media meaningful.

On the other hand, committee deputy chairman Dušan Jarjabek from Smer-SD argued that the state financing contract in place is very exact and transparent, TASR wrote.

The main goal of the agreement between the state and the public media is to create a medium-term strategy for the creation, production and broadcasting of domestic, Slovak programmes. Culture Minister Marek Maďarič (Smer) said that contracts of this kind are common in Europe. The agreement would be designed to cover a period of five years with annual appendices stating the exact sum for each year.

The agreement and its appendices should be presented for comments to the supervisory bodies of each media – the Radio Council and the STV Council - before being signed. The Culture Ministry sees this method as a way to make the financing of original Slovak programmes from the state budget more transparent. In the case of SRo, the agreement is designed to enhance its broadcasting abroad. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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