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Accusations of bias

"I find the political coverage in The Slovak Spectator to be a little biased. The media should present a factual account and then it should be left up to the reader, not the writers or the editor, to make their own informed decision based on what they have read. I would also like to see more informative articles about the Slovak Republic and its history. A lot of incorrect opinions are formed about current political situations when the reader is ignorant of the correct historical facts behind them, such as Slovak / Hungarian relations. "


- M.J. Howarth, Nitra



"I would prefer if the newspaper were more concentrated on the budget, and about changes in the economic system, now that there is a leftist government. I would also prefer it if the newspaper were less biased, and if some opinions favouring Smer and the HZDS were more prominently displayed. The newspaper favours right-wing parties, especially the SDKU and KDH, however very little is reported favouring the SMK (although it is also a right-wing party). The editorial board is excellent, and they have very investigative journalism. However, the editors, Mr Nicholson and Ms Balogová (even though I like reading what they write) seem to dislike Smer and the HZDS. SPEX was also concentrated on investigating mafia rings and corrupt entrepreneurs and the links they have with the political parties. I like this investigative stuff, but it seems to circle the same two political parties."


- Stefan Mifsud 'Jasmine' Triq, Malta



Response:


Obviously, accusations of bias have to be taken very seriously by any journalist or newspaper. On the one hand, I admit that I am biased against Smer, the HZDS and the SNS, having lived here while the latter two were in government in the 1990s, and having interviewed their leaders on various occasions. On the other hand, I hope that my bias is confined to editorials, and that it is based on measured arguments rather than unsupported accusations. I hate the idea that some form of bias leaks into our news pieces, because so many of us who have worked here over the years have tried not to emulate what we saw in the Slovak media.

Covering Slovakia, particularly its politics, is a challenge because you see so much that any intelligent person with a normal conscience would know is wrong or fat-headed. It's even more difficult because it is so hard to find an analyst or talking head who would have anything good to say about a fat-headed policy, so all you are left with is the statements of the fat-heads who thought them up in the first place, and these often leave something to be desired (logic, for example, or credibility).

But the aim remains, as it always has been, to present you with merely what was said and done, as well as a reasonable amount of context that will allow you to make heads or tails of a story. I believe that if we fail in this it is not through design.

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