Dzurinda blasts Rusko's media influence

PRIME MINISTER Mikuláš Dzurinda has attacked political rival Pavol Rusko, head of the non-parliamentary Ano party and owner of private station TV Markíza, for "abusing his media empire for the benefit of his political party."

Dzurinda said that Rusko had begun to use his power to demand greater coverage even at state channel STV, where several reporters quit last week after being ordered to include Rusko on a talk show they didn't believe he could contribute to.

"[Rusko] is even pushing himself on STV in a non-standard way, and I see a grave danger in the way he is using his economic and media power," Dzurinda said.

The PM referred ironically to the order sent from STV management, then on a business trip in China, that Rusko be featured on the chat show.

"His participation in the televised debate was so imperative that the general director got involved in the matter while on a business trip to China," the PM said.

STV Director Milan Materák responded that he had faced no pressure from Rusko, and that having several times fended off pressure from Dzurinda in the past to feature the PM's SDKÚ party, it was unlikely that he would have bowed to the Markíza boss.

"That's an absolute lie," Dzurinda said.

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