THE ANTITRUST Bureau (PMÚ) has imposed a fine of Sk900,000 (€27,000) on the Culture Ministry for breaking the rules of competition, bureau spokesperson Alexandra Bernáthová said.
The PMÚ claims that the ministry 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 entrepreneurs, nor can they limit competition by other means".
The Culture Ministry allegedly broke competition rules when it directed financial resources from the state budget to the TASR press agency for activities and services made in a competitive environment. By doing so, it put other agencies, especially the SITA press agency, at a disadvantage.
The Culture Ministry has appealed 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.
16. Jul 2007 at 0:00 | Michaela Terenzani , From press reports