Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS)

Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS) is Slovakia’s nationwide public broadcasting operator. The company in its current form has been operating since 2011 when Slovak Television and Slovak Radio were merged into one company. Today, RTVS runs four television channels, nine radio stations and three regional radio channels.

Media assets

Television: :1 :2, :Sport, :24

Radio: SRo1: Rádio Slovensko, SRo2: Rádio Regina, SRo3: Rádio Devín, SRo4: Rádio FM, SRo5: Rádio Patria, SRo6: Radio Slovakia International, SRo7: Rádio Pyramida, SRo8: Rádio Litera, SRo9: Rádio Junior

State Media Matrix Typology: Captured Public/State-Managed (CaPu)

Ownership and governance

RTVS is governed by the RTVS Law (Number 532 of 2010, later amended). According to this law, RTVS is a legal entity registered in Bratislava, the Slovak capital city, in charge of operating the public broadcasting service in Slovakia.

The highest governing body at RTVS is the RTVS Board whose nine members are appointed and dismissed by the National Council, the unicameral parliament of Slovakia, through an absolute majority, upon nominations by the relevant parliament committee. The Director General of RTVS is also appointed by the National Council, upon nominations by the relevant parliament committee, based on a public hearing where candidates present their project proposals. This hearing is aired live on the website of the National Council.

Source of funding and budget

RTVS is funded through a combination of license fee (paid by all households in the country), state subsidies and advertising. In 2021, the state subsidy accounted for some 34% of the total budget of €137.2m, according to the broadcaster’s latest annual report.

In 2022, RTVS had a total budget of €141.5m, according to the latest annual report from the RTVS. License fees accounted for roughly 53% of that.

Unlike other countries, the license fee for RTVS is not used by the government to control the station. On the contrary, the license fee, to some extent, is meant to ensure RTVS’ financial independence as the government does not have full control over it, being collected from individual households.

Editorial independence

RTVS for many years was praised for its quality coverage and editorial independence. However, in the past three years or so, after the appointment of a new director, which was criticized by independent journalists as being highly politicized, the broadcaster has become increasingly controlled by the authorities; controversial programs, especially those focused on investigations, have been canceled, and pressures on journalists increased significantly, forcing many of them out of the job.

The RTVS Law stipulates that the broadcaster is an independent institution. The statute of the broadcaster, the latest of which was adopted in 2016, merely repeats provisions from the RTVS Law, without putting forward guarantees for the broadcaster’s editorial independence.

RTVS has an ethical commission that deals with ethics-related problems that appear during the activities of the broadcaster. Although it is an independent body, the commission is subordinated to and serves the RTVS General Director.

October 2023