NO SERIOUS problems are found in Slovakia when it comes to media freedom, Colin Peters, the aide to the director of the International Press Institute (IPI) for Freedom of Press and Media in Europe, said during a visit to Bratislava. His stopover was the first in a series of visits that IPI is continuing in other countries of this region, the TASR newswire reported.
“The aim is to get closer to journalists and to people who work in the media and to try to find out whether they have some concerns about freedom of expression, and following that to write a report,” TASR quoted Peters as saying.
He admitted there are problems in some areas in Slovakia, such as claiming calumny and relatively high financial sanctions for publishing certain content. These are problems seen elsewhere in Europe too, he added.
“There are, however, some issues that only are in Slovakia,” Peters said. “Such as last year’s amendment to the Press Code, which institutes the right to reply based only on a reader’s feeling that his reputation was harmed. This does not exist anywhere else in Europe.”
According to Peters, another characteristic Slovak problem is the extraordinarily critical attitude of the prime minister and other high politicians towards the media.
During his visit Peters met the representatives of the public service media including Slovak Radio, Slovak Television, the TASR news agency, as well as representatives of the Press Council of the Slovak Republic and representatives of private media in Slovakia.
Peters’ visit to Slovakia during the pre-election time period is coincidental.
“It is a very general mission about the freedom of expression," he was quoted by TASR.
23. Mar 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports