The AZR has criticised the decision. It complained that the general director of the private Markíza television, Matthias Settele, refused to broadcast the campaign without seeing the story board of the ad. AZR said the television explained it with saying that “the second side does not have money for campaign”, as reported by Omediach.com.
“With such absurd decision he [the general director] declared three things: first, that Markíza restricts the right to freedom of speech; second, that it took a stand in favour of the LGBT community; and third, that it is not commercial television because the Alliance for Family wanted to pay the list price,” the AZR stated.
Markíza however explained that its decision does not relate to this specific referendum, but shows their approach to any referendum taking place.
“We decided not to offer special ad blocks to communicate the referendum, neither to supporters, nor to activists who are against it,” the television wrote in the statement provided to Omediach.com.
It explained that the law sets rules for the campaign for the parliamentary and presidential elections, but not for referenda.
“While the organisers of the referendum are prepared to communicate the issue, people with other opinions are not organised in a way to be able to finance the ads presenting alternative opinions,” the television wrote.
Settele himself explained that “though we can have our own opinion on the topics of the referendum – for example I was raised in the village in the family of Catholic teacher, but on the other hand during my career in television I have met many creative people who have different way of life – we will not present any official approach within the Markíza group, and this concerns every referendum”, as reported by Omediach.com.
The station thinks that broadcasting the spots of only one side could have been considered the statement expressing the approval or refusal to the television and in some cases even uneven treatment.
Public-service Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS) also declined to broadcast the ad before the referendum.
“RTVS will reserve the space for detailed reporting, as well as discussions about the questions which will be subject of the referendum,” broadcaster’s PR manager Dominika Šulková told Omediach.com.
The law on referendum does not contain provisions over the election campaign in broadcasting media or other questions regarding the broadcasts before the referendum. RTVS therefore follows the law on broadcasting and retransmission which stipulates that “the broadcasting of political ad and ad promoting religion or atheism is prohibited, if separate regulation does not provide otherwise”. In this case this refers to the law on referendum which does not contain any provisions regarding the referendum ad.
“Based on this RTVS will not reserve space for broadcasting the ad concerning the referendum,” Šulková added, as quoted by Omediach.com.
The AZR also asked the private TV JOJ for broadcasting the ad, but it has not responded yet, the Pravda.sk website 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. Jan 2015 at 10:00