As Robert Fico's advisor for media, Ľubica Mižičková said she wanted to convince Fico to return to TV talk shows, and that she wanted to "help create normal relations between the prime minister and the media". Two months later, the prime minister has returned to talk shows, but his relations with the media remain deeply substandard.
"The media have become the political opposition to this government, and citizens do not have access to objective information about our activities," Fico said at a meeting with citizens in Veľký Krtíš. He added that the government was not supported by any media, and that it intended to deal with this matter at its next regular meting.
It is very common for the head of the executive branch to be unhappy with the media and to criticize the manner in which they report on the government. But it is rare for a prime minister to call the media as a whole the political opposition to his government.
The last time this happened in Slovakia it was done by Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar (1994-1998), and it was not without results. The public media were placed under the brutal control of the HZDS party, which acted towards the media as if they were a political enemy. The Mečiar government wanted to have one tax rate for 'serious' media and another for 'non-serious' media, it wanted to set up special press senates that would address the work of journalists, and it wanted to raise the VAT on newspapers to the point that it would put them out of business. The only thing it achieved was to have the International Committee for the Protection of Journalists rank Mečiar in 10th place among the greatest enemies of the press in the world.
Every government has the 'right' to wander into dead-end streets, but it would be sad if the Fico government entered the same one as the Mečiar government.
Sme, April 24
30. Apr 2007 at 0:00 | Marián Leško