OFFICIALS from private Radio Twist and Slovak Telecom (ST) have signed an agreement aimed at resolving a five-year-old commercial dispute between the radio station and the ST-owned radio network operator Rádiokomunikácie.
While not releasing financial details, ST spokesperson Gabriela Nemkyová said the two sides had agreed to halt all lawsuits and seek a mutually beneficial solution.
The dispute goes back to November 1997, when Twist officials say the station was pulled off the air unlawfully under political pressure from then-Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar.
Twist officials claimed that the shut-down cost them Sk25 million ($600,000), which they had been deducting from broadcasting payments to ST after complaining about the slowness of court processes in resolving the matter.
However, by September 2002 ST was claiming commercial debts of Sk14 million ($333,000) against Twist and threatening to pull the plug on the station.
Bratislava District Court in September ruled that Rádiokomunikácie had been guilty of harming a public service in 1997, and issued an injunction barring ST from cutting off Twist's signal.
Twist owner Andrej Hryc, who recently purchased a 50 per cent stake in the broadcaster from the children of jailed financier Jozef Majský, called the agreement "pragmatic and rational", and said Twist would be searching for a new investor.