IN SHORTS

STV gets new boss

RICHARD Rybníček, the current head of private television station JOJ, was elected to lead the indebted public channel STV by 125 votes of 142 members of parliament present in the chamber.

Rybníček has said he plans to raise concessionary user fees by 30 to 35 per cent, to review contracts with external production agencies that are alleged to have allowed management to strip station assets, and to increase the family and educational content of programming.

Before beginning his career in television, he worked as a spokesperson for a former Bratislava mayor and was head of the independent Institute for Public Affairs think tank in Bratislava.

Rybníček is also the former drummer of the legendary Slovak band Bez ladu a skladu.

Days before his January 14 election, the parliamentary media council demanded police investigate STV contracts, which, according to a state watchdog, broke laws on advertising, budgeting and the administration of public property under the 1998-2002 management of STV director Milan Materák.

The MPs, basing their demands on a report by the supreme audit office, said that the station frequently awarded suspicious contracts to firms with offices listed in open fields, and whose officers are untraceable.

MP František Mikloško, of the ruling coalition Christian Democrats, said he would resign his mandate if the police did not investigate.

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