At the government session today, the green light was given for the recently announced plans of culture minister Daniel Krajcer to merge the public TV and radio broadcasters from 1 January next year.
The draft bill called the Slovak Radio and Television Act will see a new institution formed from the current public service broadcasters STV and SRo.
Due to a lack of time, the new law will be pushed through parliament in abridged proceedings. The main point of the law is to stop both institutions running up further debts and pave the way for their consolidation.
The Ministry of Culture admits that cuts will be made and jobs lost, but this is the price that has to be paid to make public broadcasting more efficient and self-sustainable. STV alone projected a loss of EUR 37 million for next year, but this should be prevented with the formation of the new institution.
The assets of both current broadcasters will be transferred to the new Slovak Radio and Television company, with its General Director to be appointed through parliament.
By 2012 TV and radio license fees will be abolished, meaning the new institution will have to rely on a single annual allocation from the state budget and its own commercially-generated revenues.