Acting upon the wishes of Slovak Television's (STV) Governing Council, Parliament has removed the station's director, Jozef Darmo, and replaced him with an equally eager, younger supporter of the dominant governing party the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS).
Igor Kubiš, 38, worked as a deputy director in STV's news department until the time he became STV's director. In that time, Kubiš helped produce several documentaries discrediting the opposition and Slovak President Michal Kováč, the main political rival of the leader of the HZDS and the government, Vladimír Mečiar.
Speaking to reporters after becoming director, Kubiš said one of his first acts would be to shake up the station's management, and "appoint my closest colleagues to STV's top posts," the press agency TASR reported.
At least one STV employee was not overjoyed when hearing who his new superior would be. "Darmo was dreadful, but Kubiš? I think I'm going to look for a new job,'' said Igor Zemanovič, an economic reporter for the station.
Darmo, in his early seventies, was ousted for şşmishandling STV's economic affairs and for the low quality of programs that the station offers,'' said Jerguš Ferko, the Board's deputy chairman.
Darmo was appointed to STV's helm shortly after the government of Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar took office in December 1994. He is a co-founder and chairman of the Association of the Slovak Journalists, which has since its founding in 1993 given out awards only to journalists and media organizations that are closely aligned with the government.
In the secret ballot, 76 out of the 95 MPs who voted chose Kubiš. A second candidate, Mikuláš Kočan, received 17 votes. Some HZDS deputies had trouble pointing out Kubiš's talents when asked why he was chosen to replace Darmo.
"Why do you ask? said one HZDS MP, Ján Cúper. "I don't know. I think he will be allright.'' "I don't know," said Eva Zelenayová, a HZDS MP and a journalist with the pro-government daily Slovenská Republika. "He is younger, perhaps.''
18. Dec 1996 at 0:00 | Jana Dorotková