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Crucial media laws passed

SLOVAK parliament has approved long expected new laws regulating the work of the public media - Slovak Television (STV) and Slovak Radio (SRo).

According to the laws, the heads of the institutions will no longer be elected by parliament but rather by media councils. The members of the councils, however, are nominated by parliament.

The councils will also have greater powers than they have at the moment. Through newly established supervisory commissions, the council members will be able to look into the economic performance of the media outlets.

The draft, proposed by the Culture Ministry, initially planned to oblige STV to invest 20 percent of its revenues from the obligatory monthly membership fees collected from citizens into Slovak production.

STV director Richard Rybníček, however, threatened to resign if this provision was approved, and MPs later omitted the clause from the law. Rybníček argued that investing 20 percent into Slovak production regardless of the quality of the work would be economically damaging for the TV network. He also suspected that an interest group wanted to secure safe and high income by pushing through the clause.

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