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Smer will boycott sessions of parliament’s media committee dealing with RTVS

MPs representing the opposition Smer party who sit on the parliamentary committee for media and culture will not actively participate in committee sessions involving steps to select a permanent general director of the newly-formed public-service Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS), the TASR newswire reported. Marek Maďarič, a Smer vice-chairman and former culture minister, said on January 10, as reported by TASR, that he and his colleagues will ignore committee discussions and votes on this matter. He said that opposition lawmakers believe that the RTVS vote will be nothing but a "political farce directed by the Coalition Council, eventually resulting in the promotion of a coalition nominee to lead the public-service broadcaster". Slovak Television (STV) and Slovak Radio (SRo) were merged as of January 1 with the aim of tackling the TV broadcaster's financial difficulties. While STV created ever-larger debts over the last years of its independent existence, SRo managed to balance its annual budgets. The interim management, headed by former general director of SRo Miloslava Zemkova, is due to be replaced by a new management in around three months and must be voted in by parliament.

MPs representing the opposition Smer party who sit on the parliamentary committee for media and culture will not actively participate in committee sessions involving steps to select a permanent general director of the newly-formed public-service Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS), the TASR newswire reported.

Marek Maďarič, a Smer vice-chairman and former culture minister, said on January 10, as reported by TASR, that he and his colleagues will ignore committee discussions and votes on this matter. He said that opposition lawmakers believe that the RTVS vote will be nothing but a "political farce directed by the Coalition Council, eventually resulting in the promotion of a coalition nominee to lead the public-service broadcaster".

Slovak Television (STV) and Slovak Radio (SRo) were merged as of January 1 with the aim of tackling the TV broadcaster's financial difficulties. While STV created ever-larger debts over the last years of its independent existence, SRo managed to balance its annual budgets. The interim management, headed by former general director of SRo Miloslava Zemkova, is due to be replaced by a new management in around three months and must be voted in by parliament.

Culture Minister Daniel Krajcer said at a press conference that if Media Committee chairman Dušan Jarjabek (Smer) does not publish a call for potential candidates to apply for the position of general director of Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS) the committee chairman will be breaking the law, stating that as chair, Jarjabek is obliged to publish the advert for the position by January 10 in the programming of Slovak Television and Slovak Radio as well as on parliament's internet website.

Krajcer said that Jarjabek didn't have a duty to convene the Media Committee session and hold any vote. "Although he's free to do that, it's not necessary for him to do anything," Krajcer stated.

The Media Committee failed to approve a call for participants interested in becoming general-director of RTVS earlier on January 10 because two coalition lawmakers, Jana Kissová (SaS) and Magda Vášáryová (SDKÚ) were not present at the session and opposition Smer MPs were only passively attending. Jarjabek adjourned the sitting until January 17.

According to Krajcer, the committee could meet later in the day to authorise the committee's vice-chair to publish the call. Krajcer called the conduct of Smer committee members "a complete farce".

"Obviously, they have preferred to play a political game over their legal duties," said Krajcer, adding that their intent is probably to prolong the current agony of the Slovak Television for which he said they bear full responsibility. "Not even this illegal conduct will stand in the way of public media reform," he said.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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