Freedom House says media independence worsening in Slovakia

THE NEW York-based nongovernmental organisation Freedom House published its 2004 Nations in Transit reports on 27 former communist countries, including Slovakia.

The report on Slovakia noted continuing transformation, "shifting from fundamental macroeconomic reforms to systemic changes in a number of areas".

In the rating of new democracies, Slovakia came fifth after Poland, Slovenia, Estonia, and Hungary, and ahead of Lithuania, Latvia, and the Czech Republic, the news wire TASR wrote.

There were improvements in the category Civil Society but new problems in Independent Media.

Slovakia was deemed "politically mature" even though "relations among members of the ruling coalition grew increasingly complicated in 2003, encouraging frequent conflicts that occupied the time and energy of the governing parties' leaders".

As for Slovak civil society, "it is viewed by many experts as one of the most dynamic and self-sustaining in central Europe".

In the section on media, "the most publicised issue in the print and electronic media in 2003 was the revelation of illicit wiretapping of journalists from the daily SME by the Slovak Intelligence Service... owing to the secret service wiretapping scandal, as well as questionable court rulings in related lawsuits, Slovakia's rating for independent media declined," the report states.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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