The government’s plans to amalgamate public TV and radio into a single public service broadcaster have been given the go-ahead following a session of the four-party coalition yesterday. Prime Minister Iveta Radicova said that the move was essential in order to resolve the problematic situation in the TV broadcaster STV and radio broadcaster SRo.
The practical steps will start to be implemented in January, provided there are no legislative obstacles to the process. Speaking after the meeting, the PM pointed to the prevailing indebtedness of STV and how the broadcaster was not fulfilling its role properly. She even mentioned how it had not aired the Slovak football squad’s EURO 2012 qualifier against Armenia on Friday, which private TV Markiza screened in the end.
Culture minister Daniel Krajcer now has the task of compiling the necessary legislation to go ahead with the move and prepare the two institutions for the changes. The radio station will have its channels cut from six to four, while STV will have one if its TV channels shut down, as well. This will most likely be the STV3 sports channel, which has been referred to as an unnecessary luxury recently.
Krajcer blames the director and the management of STV for its dreadful financial situation, and he says that the merger of the two institutions was the only way to avoid eventual privatisation. The broadcasters have been running up debts even when receiving massive subsidies from the state.
The new institution will be called SRTV (Slovak Radio and Television) and the selection of the its first general director should be made by parliament before the end of the year.