Slovenians reject new media law amid low turnout
December 13th, 2010 - 10:27 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

Slovenians rejected a new media law on Sunday which the government had said was designed to limit political influence on the state radio and television broadcaster, in a national vote marked by low turnout. Preliminary results of the referendum released by 2055 UTC showed 72.6 percent of voters rejected the law, with only 27.4 percent backing it, the state electoral committee said. Turnout was 14.6 percent.

Parliament passed the law in October but the opposition demanded a referendum on it, saying the law would enable privatisation of RTV Slovenia, make its programmes more commercial and increase political influence over them. The centre-left parties had promised to change the law on state radio and television, enacted by the previous centre-right government in 2005, ahead of the election in 2008. That law put RTV firmly under the control of the government and parliament.

The existing law on the state radio and television was also the subject of a national referendum in 2005 when it was confirmed narrowly with 50.3 percent of the vote. Turnout last time round was double Sunday’s figure at 30.7 percent. Referendum results are binding in Slovenia, which joined the European Union in 2004 and the euro zone in 2007.