[SI] Slovenian referendum on changes to the PSB Law

IRIS 2023-1:1/7

Deirdre Kevin


In a referendum held on 27 November 2022, the majority of Slovenian citizens voted in favour of a change to the Law on RTV Slovenia, the main aim of which was to depoliticise the public service broadcaster RTV Slovenia. This is to be achieved by removing the role of the National Assembly in appointing members to the governing body and by replacing the Director General with a four-person board.

Since the change of government in Slovenia, the SDS (the opposition and former governing party) has pushed for a range of public referenda on legislative proposals of the new government. Two other referenda were held on the same day. One concerned the restructuring of the Government and the other was a legislative proposal to ensure long-term care for the elderly. All three referenda resulted in the approval of government legislation by the voters.

Regarding RTV Slovenia, there have been ongoing protests by journalists regarding alleged political interference by the leadership structures appointed under the previous government. The new Act will reorganise the broadcaster's management and governing bodies. The Governing bodies – formerly the Programme Council and the Supervisory Council – will be re-named the Council and the Financial Committee.

Previously, the procedure for appointing the Programme Council included five members directly selected by the National Assembly proposed by the political party. A further 16 members were appointed by the National Assembly based on candidates submitted from a range of universities and faculties as well as societies, associations of societies or their organisations, especially in the field of art, culture, science, and journalism, and other civil society organisations. The employees of RTV Slovenia elected three members. The Council also always included one representative from the Italian national community and one from the Hungarian community, one from the Academy of Sciences and Arts, and two representatives appointed by the president representing religious communities. The National Assembly previously also adopted the decision to appoint all of these members on the basis of a majority vote.

The new system for appointing the Council does not involve the National Assembly or the political parties. The size of the Council has been reduced. It still includes one representative from the Italian national community and one from the Hungarian, one from the Academy of Sciences and Arts, and now just one representative appointed by the president representing religious communities. The employees of RTV Slovenia now elect six members. The remaining members are directly selected following a public call to relevant organisations, made by the following organisations: the National Council for Culture (two members, one from the cultural sector and from the audiovisual sector); the Olympic Committee (one member from a sports federation or organisation); the Information Commissioner (one member from organisations active in the field of media, development of the information society and the promotion of transparency); and the Council for Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection (one member based on a public call to organisations active in the field of environmental, nature and climate protection).

The law changes the management structure, and RTV Slovenia will no longer be run by a director general but by a four-member management board. The president of the management board is appointed by the Council on the basis of a public tender, two additional members of the board are also appointed by the Council at the proposal of the president of the board, and the labour director is elected by the employees of RTV Slovenia in direct elections.

The Council appoints and dismisses the finance committee, which has five members. One member is proposed for appointment by each of the following: the Ministry responsible for finance; the Ministry responsible for the media; the Council of employees of the public institution RTV Slovenia; the Association of Supervisors of Slovenia (a training organisation for supervisory board members); and the Association of accountants, financiers and auditors of Slovenia.



This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.