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Foreign Affairs Ministry lambasts statement by OSCE's Haraszti

Slovakia's Foreign Affairs Ministry said on July 3 that it rejected the statement by Miklós Haraszti, the representative of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), that the new Press Code had become a tool for politicians in Slovakia to browbeat the media.

Slovakia's Foreign Affairs Ministry said on July 3 that it rejected the statement by Miklós Haraszti, the representative of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), that the new Press Code had become a tool for politicians in Slovakia to browbeat the media.

Haraszti delivered a report to the OSCE Permanent Council on the state of media freedom in the OSCE region, in which he mentioned several countries including Slovakia, the TASR newswire wrote. The report said that the initial experience with the new legislation confirms that it's an instrument of politicians.

"Within the first 10 days of validitym two top politicians took advantage of their right to publish responses to articles, with which they didn't agree," states the report.

Ministry spokesman Ján Škoda said that the Slovak delegation to OSCE has unambiguously rejected the report and refutes Haraszti's assertions. Slovakia considers the statements to be untrue, and now it expects Haraszti to issue a correction.

According to Škoda, no abuse of the Press Code has occurred. He also pointed out that PM Robert Fico hasn't taken advantage of the right to reply so far.

"The request by coalition HZDS leader Vladimír Mečiar to publish a response was rejected by the Sme daily because it didn't follow the act’s requirements, and [Mečiar] didn't protest," said Škoda. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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