The public-service broadcasters Slovak Television (STV) and Slovak Radio (Sro) will merge to form a brand new public broadcaster, Radio and Television Slovakia (RTS), as of the beginning of 2011, after 77 MPs backed a proposal to that effect at a parliamentary session on Tuesday, November 30.
Culture Minister Daniel Krajcer (Freedom and Solidarity (SaS)), who submitted the initiative, said it was designed to resolve the financial woes plaguing STV, as well as to boost the quality of programmes aired by both broadcasters. A new general director will be elected by parliament, along with a nine-person governing council. The monthly salary of the head of RTS will be nine times the average monthly salary in Slovakia (i.e. about €6,700).
The new head will initially be tasked with consolidating broadcasting and preparing the conditions for running the institution from 2012 onwards. As of the beginning of that year, the broadcaster will receive a single allocation from the state budget. Licence fees will also be abolished, the TASR newswire wrote. If no RTS general director is appointed by the time RTS emerges, Speaker of Parliament Richard Sulík will choose between the current heads of STV and SRo – Štefan Nižňanský and Miloslava Zemková, respectively – with one of them then becoming RTS’s interim statutory representative.
During a two-hour debate on the proposal, opposition Smer party MP Dušan Jarjabek criticised Krajcer for what he called a ‘sheer political initiative’. Krajcer conceded that as a solution to STV’s financial woes the move was unusual but defended his bill by saying that the situation in which STV has found itself is unusual and disastrous, and that “such situations call for swift and resolute solutions.”
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
1. Dec 2010 at 10:00