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Maďarič won't draw withdraw Press Act despite criticism from OECD

Culture Minister Marek Maďarič won't retract the proposed new Press Act even though Foreign Affairs Minister Ján Kubiš obtained a request to do so from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), it was announced on January 23.

Culture Minister Marek Maďarič won't retract the proposed new Press Act even though Foreign Affairs Minister Ján Kubiš obtained a request to do so from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), it was announced on January 23.

In reaction to the OSCE reservation concerning the part of the draft press act, which says that the print media can't propagate e.g. war or violence, and if they do they can be fined up to Sk200,000 (€5,884) by the Culture Ministry, Maďarič said that this clause has also been in the current Press Act since 2000.

"By the way, this section was approved by many of today's Opposition politicians. They set the fine at Sk2 million. We reduced it in the new proposal to Sk200,000," he explained.

He also stressed that in 2000, neither the OSCE, nor publishers raised any objections to it.

"I consider it to be purposeful, and, of course, I don't consider it to be an attack on the media," said Maďarič. As for the second OSCE reservation regarding the right to a response of the affected person, Maďarič said that it was standard fare in press acts throughout the EU. The minister doesn't agree with the idea that this right can be misused. He was unable to explain why the OSCE criticizes Slovakia, when, according to him, it is a standard press act that meets all the usual criteria.

Slovakia's Foreign Affairs Minister Ján Kubiš said on January 23 that he would talk to Miklós Haraszti from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) about his letter criticizing the proposed new Press Act. Kubiš said that he found Haraszti's communication process inappropriate. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

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