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IRIS 2010-1:1/40


Contracts between the State and Public Broadcasters

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Jana Markechová

Markechova Law Office, Bratislava

The Slovak Government approved the proposal of a contract on content, aims and provision of public television broadcasting services for the period of 2010-2014 (“State Contract”) and the proposal of Amendment No.1 to the State Contract for the year 2010 (“Amendment”). The parties involved are Slovak TV (“STV”) and the Ministry of Culture (“Ministry”).

The State Contract was proposed by the Ministry on the basis of Government Resolution No. 741 of 15 October 2008 concerning the proposal of a concept of contracts between public broadcasters and the State about contents, aims and provision of public radio and television broadcasting services. Pursuant to this Resolution the Ministry was obliged to submit the proposal to be discussed in Government proceedings.

While the State Contract with STV has been approved, the contract with Slovak Radio (“SRo”) is still under discussion, as there are several reservations on the part of Sro, inter alia towards suggestions the Ministry wants to include in the State Contract and the Amendment.

The aim of the State Contract is to form a medium-term strategy for the creation, production and broadcasting of programmes by STV. The contractual obligation of the State (which represents the public in this relationship) is to provide financial resources as a State budget contribution according to the Act on State Budget, granted pursuant to the State Contract and intended to support the production of public interest programmes, i.e., programmes aimed at satisfying the informational and cultural needs of the audience in the territory covered by the broadcaster. STV binds itself to using these financial resources for the creation, production and broadcasting of such programmes, i.e., mainly dramatic, documentary and animated works that promote the cultural identity of the Slovak Republic according to Section 3 lit. h) of Act No. 308/2000 Coll. on broadcasting and retransmission and Act No. 195/2000 Coll. on Telecommunications, examples of which include inter alia the following:

- educational and informational programmes for minors;

- programmes providing legal information, supporting a healthy life-style, protection of nature, environment, life, property and road safety;

- programmes which present cultural issues, with emphasis on Slovak culture and the culture of national minorities and ethnic groups;

- programmes which present religious activities.

STV can use the financial resources provided for the creation of the above-mentioned programmes in its own capacities or in co-operation with other providers of audiovisual works. In addition, the State Contract will have a positive impact on the STV budget. According to the Amendment the income of STV will increase by EUR 12,500,000 in 2010 and in the period of 2010-2014 by at least EUR 10,000,000 for each year. The State budget expenditure will increase accordingly.