New public broadcaster RTVS faces uphill struggle

Yesterday, the elected first director of public TV and radio broadcaster RTVS, Miloslava Zemkova, officially took up the demanding post after the official ceremony in parliament, with some serious financial problems facing her from the start.

old radio building (c) Tibor Macak, The Daily

Zemkova has already drawn attention to the fact that because of the huge outstanding debts of former TV broadcaster STV, which was merged with Slovak radio Slovensky Rozhlas to create the RTVS, the RTVS could already be facing distraint proceedings if it does not agree with creditors.

The company has inherited EUR 18 million in debts, while losses are in the range of EUR 43 million, and that is not even counting subsidiary companies. The company also has to make provisions for the various lawsuits that are pending. Zemkova has therefore called on the state to delve into its pocket to help get the new broadcaster off to a good start. The actual amount she wants to request should be known later today.

Another problem is that the institution is bound by many contracts that parliamentary speaker Richard Sulik has said are highly overpriced and not retractable. Sulik feels that this is the biggest problem facing the new broadcasting institution, pointing out the huge task that lay ahead as there are literally hundreds of contracts to be dealt with.

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