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IN SHORT

Markíza, Joj attack STV

IN A TELEVIZED discussion broadcast on TV Markíza on June 5, representatives from TV Markíza and TV Joj argued that Slovak public television station STV weakens the ability of commercial television stations to attract advertisers, the daily SME wrote.

Although invited to participate in the discussion, STV director Richard Rybníček declined. Branislav Záhradník, a member of STV's board of directors, told SME that the discussion "was a forum for an inquisition". Záhradník thinks that STV's increasing strength is making the competition nervous and thus instigating such televised debates.

TV Markíza and TV Joj say that they are not on equal footing with STV. While commercial television stations rely solely on advertising, STV enjoys state funding in addition to advertising income. TV Markíza and TV Joj representatives reproached STV for raising the prices of its advertising for various international programmes.

Rybníčk became general director of STV in 2002. At the time, STV was one of the least watched stations and in serious debt. Rybníček initiated company lay offs and executed drastic cost savings measures while simultaneously changing the station's program to attract more viewers. He is accused of making STV "too commercial".

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