The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has been busy in recent weeks standing up for its members in Central and Eastern Europe.
Just today (April 17) it issued a statement asking the Slovenian authorities to restrain from exerting undue political pressure on the public broadcaster RTV Slo. In it, the EBU said that RTV Slo is playing a critical role in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and is “stretched to its limits”. It also said that the government’s attacks on RTV Slo’s employment, financial and programme policies “are not supported by empirical evidence”.
Meanwhile, it has also been reported today that the government has prematurely replaced three of the four members it is allowed to appoint to RTV Slo’s Supervisory Board. This, according to the local publication Dnevnik, follows criticism by the PM Janez Jansa and his supporters of RTV Slo’s management and journalists for “misconduct – even harmful behaviour” during the pandemic.
The EBU also spoke out publicly for the Ukrainian public broadcaster UA:PBC in late March, asking the government not to reduce its budget as it would “critically undermine its ability to operate in the future”.
It also praised UA:PBC for helping the state in the fight against Covid-19 by informing and educating citizens and broadcasting important updates and announcements.
Earlier in March, the EBU expressed concerns about proposed budget cuts to the Kosovan public broadcaster Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK). Again, it highlighted the important role public service media (PSM) have to play during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition, less than two weeks ago the EBU issued a statement in which it called on governments across Europe, “not to take advantage of emergency measures, designed to address the coronavirus pandemic, to restrict freedom of expression, freedom of the media or the free flow of news and information”.
At a time when the TV industry is facing unprecedented challenges, this is an important message and should be listened to.
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