Why this story matters:
A public broadcasting organization RTVS announced that it will discontinue the last investigative program on Slovak TV called Reportéri (Eng. Reporters).
The spokesperson for the RTVS justified the decision by listing “poor quality of work, numerous errors and complaints from the public” as main reasons. She added, however, that it is not a definitive end of the program. The station intends to re-launch it after changing the format and setting clearer thematic boundaries.
The problem is that Reportéri's strength lied in their freedom to choose whatever subject they felt must be investigated and presented to the audience. In the past months, they covered a wide range of issues from the everyday life problems to politics and history.
Over the last years, viewers have often expressed their trust and loyalty to RTVS professional approach to news coverage. More and more people believed that public TV, including RTVS, is the only one that respects its audience and challenges them intellectually. Then came a shift in power and a new director took over the station in June 2017.
What we witness now is a sad aftermath of this change.
Details from the story:
- The head of the public broadcast organization, RTVS, is Jaroslav Rezník. He was elected by the MPs in June 2017 and soon after made a few radical personal changes. For example, the editor-in-chief of the news room was replaced.
- Reportéri was a well-known, investigative program with a long history of politicians trying to influence the structure of the program. They also regularly received complaints from the viewers who felt offended by the content.
- Journalists contributing to Reportéri received many awards for their work.
- The reporters will now contribute to a similar program called Občan za dverami (Eng. A Citizen is just behind the door). It is concentrated on solving the problems of people.
- Private televisions were the first ones that got rid of investigative journalism. The production was too expensive and problematic. Some of the reportages ended in court.