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Slovak cabinet approves Press Code changes to limit politicians’ right of reply

The cabinet of Iveta Radičová on March 2 approved changes to Slovakia’s Press Act and under the proposals all public functionaries, chairpersons and deputy chairs of political parties as well as political parties themselves will lose the right to reply if the published statements are related to the execution of their public responsibilities, the SITA newswire reported.

The cabinet of Iveta Radičová on March 2 approved changes to Slovakia’s Press Act and under the proposals all public functionaries, chairpersons and deputy chairs of political parties as well as political parties themselves will lose the right to reply if the published statements are related to the execution of their public responsibilities, the SITA newswire reported.

The right of reply is preserved for public officials if they seek to use it as private individuals in accord with the Slovak Constitution. The right to reply will be limited to untrue, incomplete or truth-distorting statements. The current law enables persons to seek the right of reply even to true statements.

Prime Minister Iveta Radičová told a news conference after the cabinet session that the proposed revision, highly praised by the International Press Institute (IPI), introduces changes in areas that are considered pillars of democracy in Slovakia. She underscored, according to the SITA newswire, that most of all it modifies the right to reply. Under the proposal, a complainant, either a private individual or a legal entity, must first prove the incorrectness of the statement published by the media when seeking the opportunity to reply. The approved proposal also scraps sanctions against publishers.

Lawmakers will still have a chance to introduce changes to the wording of the government-approved blueprint. The parliament is expected to discuss the government proposal in the first reading at its March session.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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