SLOVAKIA’S Broadcast and Retransmission Council (RVR), also known as the Licensing Council, held an extraordinary session on February 2 and sanctioned private broadcasters TV Markíza and TV JOJ for breaking the law by broadcasting advertisements for the 99 Percent – Civic Voice party that the council said had a political character, the TASR newswire reported, noting that Slovak law permits media to carry political advertisements only during a 21-day period immediately before an election.

"The council only has two options with sanctions: the first is a notice concerning a violation of the law, if it is the broadcaster’s first offence. The second is a fine of between €3,319 and €165,969,“ RVR head Miloš Mistrík told TASR.

Mistrík said TV Markíza had already violated the applicable section of the law in the past so the council issued a fine of €100,000. TV JOJ received a warning as Mistrík said this was its first offence but added that the station must broadcast an announcement that it had violated the law.

Mistrík told the SITA newswire that his office had acted as promptly as possible in dealing with the short political clips aired about the 99 Percent – Civic Voice party, stating that RVR had to follow all its procedural rules and both TV stations had taken advantage of that to slow down the council’s decision-making process.

Representatives of TV Markíza said the station considers the council’s decision to be baseless and will appeal, while TV JOJ said it is also considering an appeal, SITA wrote.