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Outraged culture minister calls for debate over TV reality shows

Culture Minister Marek Maďarič has condemned a private TV broadcaster, claiming it has degraded human dignity and is leading a cultural war against the Slovak people, and has called for a public discussion over the content being broadcast on TV. Moreover, he proposes to intervene to postpone the broadcasting of programmes unsuitable for children under 15 to after prime-time. However, TV channels claim that such measures might worsen their position on the media market, the TASR newswire reported.

Culture Minister Marek Maďarič has condemned a private TV broadcaster, claiming it has degraded human dignity and is leading a cultural war against the Slovak people, and has called for a public discussion over the content being broadcast on TV. Moreover, he proposes to intervene to postpone the broadcasting of programmes unsuitable for children under 15 to after prime-time. However, TV channels claim that such measures might worsen their position on the media market, the TASR newswire reported.

“I finally came to this conviction this Saturday [September 8], when TV JOJ broadcast the first episode of its new reality show [Farmer Wants a Wife] during prime-time,” said Maďarič, as quoted by TASR. “I watched all of it and I was staring in silent awe. I have never seen such a high rate of vulgarity and a total degradation of a person on our nationwide stations in prime-time.”

The minister added that the main competitor of JOJ, private TV station Markíza, is not far behind in this respect.

Moreover, Maďarič said that he wants to address this situation and introduce measures concerning TV broadcasting by the end of the year. He announced he is prepared to submit a regulation according to which programmes unsuitable for children aged under 15 will be banned before 20:00.

“The current practice of scheduling such programmes is an example of misusing the good will of the Culture Ministry from the side of the broadcasters,” said Maďarič, as quoted by TASR.

The private broadcasters have pointed out that their competitors abroad, especially those broadcasting from the Czech Republic, would not be subject to the proposed restrictions.

“We would like to bring to the attention of the ministry to, for example, the overlap of foreign, mostly language-understandable Czech channels, to Slovakia, which are not subject to any regulation,” JOJ spokesperson Jozef Gogola said, as quoted by TASR, adding that the restriction would be “unique in Europe” and would not disadvantage foreign broadcasters, only domestic stations.

Gogola also rejected criticism by Maďarič that the broadcast contained vulgarities and led to cultural degradation. He added that the ministry is only trying to hide its intention to increase subventions to public broadcaster Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS).

TV Markíza responded that the ministry should focus on RTVS, which draws public money despite the quality of its broadcasts not matching the funds it receives. This assertion is proved by its low audience share, said Markíza spokesperson Oľga Dúbravská.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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