Slovenia celebrate 75 years of Public Radio

Slovenian Radio and Television are celebrating 75 years of radio and 40 years of television. During these years the broadcaster became an integral part of Slovenia's media landscape. But now public broadcasting in Slovenia faces challenges.

During the occupation of Slovenia during World War 2 by German and Italian forces Slovene National Radio was the only station to continue broadcasting in the Slovene language - despite orders not to do so by occupying forces. And in the early 1990s when Slovenia was struggling for independence -the station's reporting of events is said to have played an important role in raising national consciousness.

Director of Radio Slovenia Miha Lampreht believes this is why about a half of the Slovene population still listen to national Radio even though there are more than 80 other commercial radio stations now broadcasting in the country.

"We belong to a different cultural experience, to a different cradle of history, but in the foreseeable future we all have to share common European values. We have to respect the unique diversity of languages. In the previous seventy five years of existence we have proved ourselves as a generalist Radio which contributes the most radio information and cultural contents in Slovenia. After joining the European Union we will contribute the best for culture of speech and beauty of the Slovene language, which will participate in the family of the nineteen official European languages."

But what is the role of public radio and television in today's global society? The director of Finish National television and president of the EBU Arne Wessberg, says public radio and television contributes greatly to preserving national "consciousness" and identity. .

"From many points of view very important and decisively, I would say. They are those catering for both- majorities and minorities, serving it's audiences, they might be small sometimes, big sometimes, taking care of cultural minorities like those speaking Italian, Hungarian in this country. Commercial broadcasting will not cater for all that. The other very- in my view- important issue is the question of plurality, plural voices, because you see the concentration of ownership in commercial TV all around the world. Public broadcasters then are those guarantee the plural voice, so their role is growing more and more important."

And he says national media plays an important role in the cultural diversity of today's Europe

"My opinion is yes, very, very, important role to keep up the culture of diversity in Europe. We are those, basing our programming and our production on the national language, reflecting the national culture. Very few of the commercial broadcasters in the Europe which is so split to the different languages, different nations, you have the market possibilities to do all that in a sustainable way. So the public broadcasters are those really catering for the national culture, secure the diversity in Europe, and that's Europe."

RTV hopes to ensure that the voice of Slovenia continues to be heard when it becomes part of an enlarged Europe next May.