THE ASSOCIATION of Spokespersons grants awards not only for the best spokespeople in Slovakia, but also a prize for the worst, known as the Raspberry. However, the association had to cancel this year’s Raspberry after its intended recipient, government press department head Erik Tomáš, intervened before the ceremony.
Tomáš has since admitted that the way in which he prevented the prize was not dignified or respectable, the Sme daily reported in its October 15 issue.
The Raspberry was to be award to Tomáš for his use of pressure, threats and arrogance when dealing with the media, jury member and editor of the Hospodárske Noviny daily Arpád Soltés told Sme.
The Raspberry was moved to a completely political level when somebody failed to manage his ego and started to perceive the evaluation of his work as criticism of his majesty and the office where he works, said chairman of the Association of Spokespersons Ján Orlovský when explaining the cancellation of the award.
Some sources confirmed to Sme that the event’s organiser, Zuzana Tichá, allegedly said she would lose all the sponsors (which includes state-run companies) if Tomáš received the award. While Tichá did not confirm this information, Tomáš denied that anyone was pressured into cancelling the award, Sme wrote.
Meanwhile, Tomáš sent an open letter to the media in which he apologised for his behaviour.
“I have to admit that also my approach to this nomination sounded petty,” Tomáš wrote, as quoted by Sme.
Tomáš explained that since he has done a lot of work as head of the press department at the Government Office, he felt aggrieved by the nomination. He pointed to improved relations between the prime minister and the media, and fewer confrontations and personal diatribes in front of the cameras.
He added that “regardless [of whether] I received the Raspberry or not, I got the feedback in a very clear way”.
Several members of the jury appreciated Tomáš’ apology.
Prime Minister Robert Fico nevertheless believes that Tomáš is a good professional and that the award was intended to discredit one of his close collaborators, Sme wrote.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
15. Oct 2013 at 14:00