THE CABINET has backed the idea of joint premises – also known as the media complex – for public broadcasters Slovak Television (STV) and Slovak Radio (SRo) at its regular session on May 20, despite the disagreement of ministers from the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), a junior coalition partner, the SITA newswire reported.
The new media complex should be built within four years on state-owned land near the new building of the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, at a cost of €138 million. The project is to be funded as a public-private partnership (PPP). The current STV building will be sold and the new complex partly financed from the proceeds; the present SRo building will serve as a concert venue and as an archive for the two public media outlets.
“This project is so good and so advantageous that I believe I will manage to acquire the necessary number of votes,” said Culture Minister Marek Maďarič, who came up with the idea of the media complex, as quoted by SITA. The project will require amending laws affecting STV and SRo.
The Slovak Association of Journalists (SAN), a journalists’ association known for its pro-government stance, said it was disappointed with the cabinet’s decision to approve Maďarič’s draft. “The construction of a new complex in the form of a PPP project is not a rational step, and the minister’s proposal misses the point, especially given the current global economic crisis,” wrote SAN chairman Štefan Dlugolinský in a statement quoted by SITA.
According to Dlugolinský, the premises of STV in Mlynská Dolina are “a remarkable architectural work and in a way part of the STV brand”.
Dlugolinský claimed that the planned PPP project is a result of the specific interests of developers and does not fulfil even the most basic requirements for the purpose of a joint public media centre. SAN objects to the project and is renewing a petition, originally announced in December 2008, against the sale of the STV premises in Mlynská Dolina, SITA wrote.