0 € for Radio Študent – Ministry of Culture is defunding RŠ

20. 5. 2021 - 15.15

Ministry of Culture Expert Commision: “The Urban student media-educational platform 2021 project exhibits a lower dimension of importance in regards to ensuring frequent, objective and balanced representation of political activities and points of view of various organisations and individuals.” 

The Ministry of Culture completely withheld funds intended for the co-financing of Radio Študent’s (RŠ) programme at this year’s tender dedicated to co-finance media. This means that the oldest European urban communal and student radio station of special significance is facing the hardest existential challenge in its 52-year history. Radio Študent has found itself, along with three central national media (Dnevnik, Delo & Mladina), in a group of media outlets sanctioned due to their “partiality”. From what is known thus far, at least four other radio stations with special status were also deprived of funds, the same also goes for Vrabec anarhist, the Slovene Writers’ Association web portal, and Kulturosfera, run by Asociacija, a society of NGOs and individuals active in culture.

Without the Ministry’s co-funding, Radio Študent is left with 3.080 broadcasts - more than 650 hours of programme dealing with culture and the arts, as well as civil society and minority groups, science and politics - fields and themes, mostly neglected in other media. Because of the cancellation of co-funding, many young colleagues who use RŠ to gain knowledge for work in media will also be negatively affected. The auditions for journalists and language editors in autumn and the audition for programme services (technicians, speakers and video creators) in the spring resulted in over 350 applications which goes to show just how much interest there is amongst the youth to work at RŠ. Between September 2020 and mid-May 2021 we have accepted around 50 new journalists whilst training for the rest is still taking place.

The brutal cut in Radio Študent’s budget by the Ministry came as even a bigger shock considering the fact that in recent years RŠ had been receiving almost 100.000 EUR (99.220 EUR in 2020, 95.700 in 2019); these funds represent 50% of media content co-financing on a yearly basis. RŠ’s applications to the said media tender have been reviewed by various expert groups composed by many governments of all sorts of colours in the past 8 years and every time they recognised the high added value of the programme which was suggested for co-financing, especially considering that it was content for young people.

In the Ministry’s decision to refuse co-financing of RŠ for 2021, what is visible is a very diverse awardment of points for the applied project which further indicates the commission’s political motivations. The commision states in its decision that “the project exhibits a lower dimension of importance in regards to ensuring frequent, objective and balanced representation of political activities and points of view of various organisations and individuals.” The Ministry’s decision is so poorly explained that it does not provide satisfactory expert argument for its refusal to co-finance RŠ’s programme.

Along with ever lower funds provided by RŠ’s founder, the Student organisation at the University of Ljubljana (ŠOUL), funds from the Ministry of Culture’s media tender represent a key source for the radio’s finances and are absolutely necessary for its core function. This representation of funds provided by ŠOUL and the Ministry of Culture paints the picture:

* 231.800 € overall in 2018, 152.000 € via ŠOUL and 79.800 € via the Ministry of Culture;

* 245.000 € overall in 2019, 150.000 € via ŠOUL and 95.000 € via the Ministry of Culture;

* 220.000 € overall in 2020, 120.000 € via ŠOUL and 100.000 € via the Ministry of Culture;

* 84.000 € overall in 2021, all via ŠOUL and 0 € via the Ministry of Culture;

Such a drastic drop in income will lead to serious consequences at the programme, educational and human level of Radio Študent. Because of the fact that Radio Študent was made aware of the tender’s results in the middle of May, when almost 50% of our content has already been aired (and has been paid for), the Ministry’s withdrawal constitutes a direct attack on a communal and independent student media outlet, the programme and the people working at RŠ. Radio Študent’s freefall from being the highest rated media outlet to being completely defunded at the same tender due to such a low score puts a big question mark on the expertise of the newly-appointed commission which made the decision. We will therefore use all our legal means to achieve the return of RŠ’s application back into the decision process which can only be achieved by suing the Ministry of Culture at the Administrative court.

The management's and the editorial board’s care is now focused towards potential new sources of income which are so much more needed that we could have even imagined one week ago. Therefore we are calling on all Radio Študent supporters to donate and aid Radio Študent in its struggle against the cancellation of critical thought, real journalism and the independent culture scene. With this you will enable the continuing existence of a unique media and educational platform for young people that has so far educated thousands of individuals. You can show your support by donating via the ŠiriRŠ platform - https://siri.radiostudent.si. We wholeheartedly thank each and every one of you who has already donated.


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