Slovakia public media reforms go through

8th July 2024
Opposition parties in Slovakia have filed a constitutional complaint against the public media law after it was approved by the President.
Logo of RTVS, the Radio and Television of Slovakia (Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska) on a door of a car.
Logo of RTVS, the Radio and Television of Slovakia (Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska) on a door of a car. Credit: naszalyg93 /


  • Slovakia’s president Peter Pellegrini signed the bill into law on 30 June.
  • Opposition politicians have confirmed they will file an appeal in the Constitutional Court.
  • The law sees the broadcaster renamed, and the existing director general and board removed from office.


Slovakia’s President, Peter Pellegrini, has approved a controversial law that will see Slovakia’s public broadcaster, RTVS, replaced with a new organisation. The law has received significant criticism for fears that it could be used to undermine the independence of public service media.  

Opposition political parties, Progresívne Slovensko (PS), Sloboda a Solidarita (SaS) and the Christian Democratic Movement have subsequently filed a constitutional complaint against the law.  

Law approved by Pellegrini

According to Czech TV, the law was expedited, with the President’s approval rushed through on Sunday 30 June. This was because the official text of the law said the new organisation would be created on 1 July.  

Pellegrini defended the new law, saying it “does not create a reasonable suspicion of non-compliance with the constitution” and “is not an interference with freedom of speech.” Nor did he believe it was in breach of international law. The law has been condemned, with some saying it runs in direct contravention of the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA). 

After the law was passed by parliament in mid-June, the European Commission announced it was examining the law to see whether it was compliant with EMFA.  

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What does it mean for RTVS?

From the moment the law came into effect on Monday 1 July, RTVS was renamed STVR, and Ľuboš Machaj’s tenure as Director General came to an end, as did the tenure of the entire board. Machaj was replaced on an interim basis by Igor Slanina, the former head of RTVS Media, a commercial subsidiary of RTVS.  

“I am coming to Slovak Television and Radio as a manager, but also as a person who not long ago worked there for five years and who also humanly cares about the fate of the public media,” he told Media Klik. “I am aware that the public institution is going through a complicated period in Slovakia and that we are currently experiencing challenging times for society as a whole. I accepted the offer to temporarily lead STVR after responsible consideration of all the decisive circumstances, and my priority will be for STVR to fulfil its public law function.” 

The appointment of the new head of STVR will be decided by the new board. The Culture Ministry, the Finance Ministry, and Parliament will be in charge of appointing board members.  

Earlier this year, RTVS staff went on strike when the bill was just a proposal. Now it has been formally approved, Czech TV reported that staff are now waiting to see the first moves of the management, before they make a decision on their steps, including further strike action.  


The Public Media Alliance is disappointed by the bill’s passage into law. We hope our fears for how the law might be used by the government to interfere in the broadcaster’s affairs are not realised, and that the new organisation maintains a high level of separation from politicians in accordance with the EMFA.

Independence is crucial for public service media to attain and retain the highest levels of trust. This means that assurances and protections must be in place to ensure that their journalists have the freedom to report and hold power to account without fear or favour. We will continue to monitor ongoing developments.