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Anti-Monopoly Office fines Culture Ministry

The Anti-Monopoly Office of Slovakia has imposed a fine of Sk900,000 on the Culture Ministry for breaking the rules of competition, office spokesperson Alexandra Bernáthová said.

According to the Anti-Monopoly Office, the ministry has repeatedly violated the Act on the Protection of Competition, which states that "even public administration and local government bodies cannot prefer by evident support certain enterpreneurs, nor can they limit competition by other means".

The Culture Ministry allegedly subverted competition rules when it directed financial resources from the state budget to the TASR press agency for activities and services which are made in a competitive environment. By doing so, it put other subjects, especially the SITA press agency, at a disadvantage.

The Culture Ministry has appealed against the fine and will wait for a final decision.

Ministry spokesman Jozef Bednár said the ministry was preparing a new act on TASR, which would transform the state-run press agency into a public service, and thus solve all problems concerning its position and financing.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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