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Mečiar administration and the press: 1995 to present

Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) regained power for the third time after winning the September 1994 general elections which saw his new cabinet inaugurated later that December . Since then, Mečiar's administration has been at odds a number of times with independent media. Here is a short look at the history of the feud.
January 1995- Mečiar's administration passes 1995 budget which limits the amount of money state-run corporations and financial organizations can spend on advertising.
March 1995- Ján Fekete, a deputy for Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), proposes a VAT hike for the first time in the parliamentary committee for Education, Science and Culture. The proposal would have levied a 25 percent VAT on publications with 30 percent foreign ownership and hit up those with 50 percent or more foreign ownership with a 50 percent tax.

Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) regained power for the third time after winning the September 1994 general elections which saw his new cabinet inaugurated later that December . Since then, Mečiar's administration has been at odds a number of times with independent media. Here is a short look at the history of the feud.

January 1995- Mečiar's administration passes 1995 budget which limits the amount of money state-run corporations and financial organizations can spend on advertising.

March 1995- Ján Fekete, a deputy for Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), proposes a VAT hike for the first time in the parliamentary committee for Education, Science and Culture. The proposal would have levied a 25 percent VAT on publications with 30 percent foreign ownership and hit up those with 50 percent or more foreign ownership with a 50 percent tax.

March 6, 1995- In protest of Fekete's proposal, most nationwide dailies publish blank front pages, carrying only the text of "Znepokojenie," or "concern" in English. Publishers get their way, as the government shelves the proposal.

March 1995- Punishing journalists for their move, Mečiar's cabinet decides that its ministers will no longer be attending cabinet press conferences.

May 1995- Miroslav Kollár, Chief of Parliament's Office, issues a regulation forbidding photographers to take pictures of deputies from the chamber's balcony. Ruling coalition deputies were upset at seeing pictures of themselves in newspapers sleeping, idly picking their noses or reading sensational newspapers instead of law proposals.

June 1995- Ivan Reguli, a department director at the Culture Ministry, issues a regulation recommending state-controlled corporations to redirect their advertisement funds to periodicals that "are close to the government."

December 1995- Mečiar ranks 10th in a list of the biggest enemies of the press, published by the American Committee for the Protection of Journalists. According to the report, "Mečiar is oppressing press and other media by his laws."

June 1996- Slovak Intelligence Service Director Ivan Lexa officially proposes criminal prosecution of all media that published an alleged recording of a phone call between Lexa and Interior Minister Ľudovít Hudek. The alleged conversation indicated that SIS took part in kidnapping Michal Kováč, Jr., the President's son in August 1995.

October 1997- Slovenské Telekomunikácie, a state-run telecom company, switches off the airwaves signals of three independent radio stations - Radio Twist, Rádio Rebeca and N-Rádio - for 25 hours.

October 1997- Mečiar's cabinet passes a bill increasing VAT for publications with more than 50-percent content of advertising, erotic or pornographic content from 6 to 23 percent.

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