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European Commission demands government report on Máčaj dismissal

European Commissioner for Information Society and Media Vivian Reding has sent a letter to the Slovak government expressing concern over the dismissal of Slovak Telecommunications Office (TÚSR) director Branislav Máčaj last week, Reding's spokesman, Martin Salmayr, told the TASR newswire on December 8.

European Commissioner for Information Society and Media Vivian Reding has sent a letter to the Slovak government expressing concern over the dismissal of Slovak Telecommunications Office (TÚSR) director Branislav Máčaj last week, Reding's spokesman, Martin Salmayr, told the TASR newswire on December 8.

"The Commission is seriously concerned about the Slovak government's decision to dismiss Mr. Máčaj from the post of TUSR chairman. As Guardian of the Treaties, the European Commission has to make sure that European Community principles are duly observed by every member state when replacing and/or appointing senior officials in national telecoms regulators," reads the letter sent to Slovakia's Transport, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Ľubomír Vážny (Smer-SD).

"The Commission's services will investigate the situation thoroughly to establish whether TÚSR's independence has been affected. (...) Should the European Commission conclude that EU telecoms rules have been infringed, the Commission will certainly consider launching an infringement procedure," Reding wrote.

She called on Slovak authorities to explain Máčaj's dismissal by December 15.

Vážny said that the reason why Máčaj was dismissed was his unwillingness to comply with the strategy for the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting. But Máčaj has said that the real reason was agreements between commercial television companies and the main governing party Smer in which the companies allegedly promised to go easy on the government in their news broadcasts in exchange for convenient tender conditions that would keep rival networks out of digital broadcasting. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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