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Government approves new election and broadcasting laws

After the summer break, the Slovak government reconvened and approved several crucial laws that will change, for example, election campaigning and the use of minority languages in TV and radio broadcasts.

After the summer break, the Slovak government reconvened and approved several crucial laws that will change, for example, election campaigning and the use of minority languages in TV and radio broadcasts.

The election law, approved on Wednesday, August 14, stipulates that political parties will be allowed to use up to €3 million for their election campaigns, presidential candidates can spend €500,000 and independent candidates for heads of self-governing regions, as well as mayoral candidates for Bratislava and Košice, are limited to €250,000. Also, all campaign finance data must be published, the TASR newswire wrote.

The law introduces so-called transparent accounts, which will be accessible to the public, and political parties will be obliged to have separate accounts for campaigns, and it will only be possible to deposit money into the account from another account. Reports will be required from political parties to inform the public on preliminary campaign expenses. Public opinion polls can only be published no later than 21 days before an election, according to the new law. Violators of these rules will be fined up to €300,000.

The amended law on TV and radio broadcasting and retransmissions grants exceptions to those who have a license to broadcast in one or several official languages of the European Union, other than Slovak. Currently, these programmes are required to be translated into Slovak. This amendment comes as a reaction to recommendations of the European Commission concerning the rules for services offered to foreign nationals settling in another EU member state. By ignoring the recommendation of the EC, Slovakia could have faced a potential lawsuit from the Commission. The new rules include broadcasting advertisements in languages other than Slovak. The amendment also addresses broadcasting for the visually and hearing impaired.

After being approved by the government, the new laws are to be passed in parliament and will become effective as of January 1, 2014, TASR wrote.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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