New organisation of journalists established
The Slovak Association of Journalists (SAN) held its founding conference on January 25 in Bratislava. Headed by Štefan Dlugolinský, ex-deputy of former Slovak Television (STV) Director Igor Kubiš, SAN says it is a non-partisan organisation aiming to bring diversity to journalism.
During the former government of Vladimír Mečiar, Kubiš and his STV team were accused of turning the public station into a propaganda vehicle for his ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) party. Most of the attendees were members of the HZDS and opposition-friendly journalists.
Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica to visit Bratislava
Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica is scheduled to visit Slovakia February 24, reported TV Markíza. Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda said that talks with the Yugoslav President would concern Slovakia's possible participation in the revitalisation of the war-torn Yugoslavia.
Slovakia sends money, no rescue team, to India
The Slovak Interior Ministry announced January 30 that it had allocated 2.3 million Slovak crowns ($50,000) in aid to be sent to India as the country tries to recover from an earthquake which registered 7.9 on the Richter Scale and left a feared 100,000 dead.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Boris Gandel said that a Slovak volunteer group of rescue experts, which helped locate victims in the 1999 earthquake in Turkey, would not be sent to the area.
Although the group has publicly pressured the government to be flown into the quake site, Gandel said that financial aid was the most effective form of help and that sending the rescue team would be too expensive.
Jaroslav Franek elected new head of STV Council
Jaroslav Franek was elected new head of the STV Council by the members of the board of governors of Slovak Television (STV) on January 30. Franek, who was the candidate of the ruling Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK), replaces Štefan Bučko, who resigned following failed attempts to dismiss STV Director Milan Materak for his inability to present solutions to the STV crisis.
Franek works at the Slovak Technical University as an assistant professor at the School of Electrical Engineering.
Slovakia is one of the last countries in central Europe where parliament elects a director of the public service television.
Compiled by Chris Togneri
from SITA and TASR