News Briefs

CPJ concerned with case against accused Zmena Editor
Miners ask government to reduce unemployment
Slovak culture figures injured in car crash

CPJ concerned with case against accused Zmena Editor

In a letter to Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) expressed its dismay over recent defamation charges levied against Vladimír Mohorita, a journalist with the Slovak ultra-right weekly newspaper Zmena. Mohorita faces charges for his controversial editorials written during the Kosovo bombing last spring.
Mohorita described the cabinet's decision to offer Slovakia's air space to NATO flights during the Kosovo crisis as a "shameful and brother-killing act." He also wrote, "Slovaks! Let's reject the government of mass murderers," as well as "crazy Satanists from the USA and NATO are killing Slovaks," and "Clinton is a student of Hitler, Dzurinda's government is Clinton's servant."
The CPJ wrote that it was alarmed that a Slovak court of law sought to imprison Mohorita and called the charges of defaming the country illogical and outrageous. "We urge you to ensure that Slovakia's press laws are revised immediately," the letter read.
According to Ján Fule, chair of the Slovak Journalists Syndicate, the CPJ stance is unprofessional because Mohorita's case does not apply to the press law. He said that the court sentenced the editor according to valid laws and said similar statements would be unacceptable in any other country.
In 1996, the CPJ ranked HZDS chairman and then-Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar among the world's 10 biggest enemies of the press.


Miners ask government to reduce unemployment

Delegates of the third congress of the Trade Unions of the Mining, Geology and Crude Oil Industries appealed to the Slovak Cabinet and Parliament on April 15 to immediately adopt effective measures to reduce unemployment. The delegates said the problem of unemployment was particularly bad in mining regions such as Spišská Nová Ves, Rožňava, Veľký Krtíš and Prievidza where unemployment rates exceed 30% and miners are unable to find other jobs.
Since 1996, over 8,000 workers in the mining, geology and the crude oil industries have lost their jobs. The member base of mining trade unions has decreased from 23,400 to the current level of 16,000 during this same period.


Slovak culture figures injured in car crash

A car driven by Slovak Culture Minister Milan Kňažko crashed on April 15 near the Czech village of Chynov. Accompanying Kňažko in the car were actors Milan Lasica and Marian Labuda. Kňažko and Lasica both escaped with minor injuries, but Labuda was hospitalised with a fractured pelvis.
Kňažko said that he had been forced to veer off the road in order to avoid a lorry which was travelling in the wrong lane.


Compiled by Chris Togneri from SITA and TASR

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