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Association of Slovak Journalists denounces new Press Code

The newly approved Press Act, much criticised for its perceived suppression of media freedom, came under fire also from the Slovak arm of the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) on April 10.

The newly approved Press Act, much criticised for its perceived suppression of media freedom, came under fire also from the Slovak arm of the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) on April 10.

The AEJ alleged that the legislation is motivated by the intention to gain control of the media and to dictate how to create balanced reporting, the TASR newswire wrote.

"It is like the ruling powers want to assume the role of the tamer of the media and give itself the right to dress and tailor it,” a statement from the AEJ reads. “It zeroed in on the enforcement of the right of reply, which in its legislative formulations stands on feet of clay and is being mocked by other European states.”

The statement maintains that the new code blatantly violates media producers’ rights.

Meanwhile, the Association of Slovak Journalists (SAN) said it would follow the law, even though some of its provisions do not live up to its ideals of contemporary law and must be amended.

"In the past, we have repeatedly called for the formation of a Press Council that would represent organisations, monitor print media and enforce the law," SAN chairman Štefan Dlugolinský said.

Lawmakers passed the much-disputed law on periodical press and agency report on April 9. It will replace the repeatedly-amended statute from 1966. Of the 143 MPs present, 82 voted in favour (81 ruling coalition and one independent) and 62 opposition MPs voted against it. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

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