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Markíza license runs into complications

Slovakia's most popular television station, Markíza, has run into some complications with the renewal of its broadcast license.

The country's media watchdog and licensing authority interrupted the license renewal process for Markíza Slovakia, the owner of the station's license, because of problems with the number of Slovaks sitting on the company's boards. The law requires that Slovaks have equal representation with foreign nations on such boards.

The current broadcast license is valid until September 2007. The station's owners have requested it be renewed for another 12 years, the SME daily wrote.

After former Economy Minister Pavol Rusko sold his shares in the company, which he founded in 1995, the American company CME obtained 80 percent in Markíza Slovakia, while Slovak owners Ján Kováčik and Milan Fiľo control 20 percent.

After the changes, Kováčik and the station's new director, Václav Mika, along with Radka Doehring from the Czech Republic became the legal representatives of the company in order to secure equivalent representation of the owners, which the law does not clearly defines.

The licensing authority says that the Slovak owners need to have a real chance to influence the operation of the company.

Markíza is confident that the company can make arrangements to comply with the law.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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