The Slovak Press Publishers’ Association (AVT) is concerned about the latest developments in media legislation and rejects the draft amendment to the Press Code, submitted by two Smer MPs.
From the point of view of content, the explanatory report to the proposal of MPs Dušan Jarjabek and Miroslav Číž does not contain any argument that would give reasons to change the right of reply. We do not know of any case when a politician would not be offered a relevant space for response. On the contrary, politicians are often unwilling to answer the questions they receive, and this is frequently the case with high state officials and Smer representatives.
AVT emphasises that the proposals do not respond to the urgent need of society to change the legislation. It is a display of egoism and a deliberate effort to restrict the fundamental rights of Slovakia’s citizens by some politicians who feel aggrieved.
From the procedural point of view, we would like to point to the fact that after the scandal of investigators seizing the mobile phone of Pavla Holcová, the Culture Ministry established a working group comprised of publishers, broadcasters, journalists and their professional organisations, the General Prosecutor’s Office and several ministries. Its task is to come up with the legislative changes. However, leading representatives of the ruling coalition ignore its work, which makes it meaningless.
Soon one year will have passed since the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová. Unfortunately, we have to say that on the occasion of this anniversary, not only would no new laws protecting journalists and improving their status be effective, but also the attacks of top political representatives against journalists and the media and the efforts to complicate their work are emerging.
We call on the state representatives to change the tone and content of their communication with journalists and, in case they are interested in media legislation, invite the temporary working group running at the Culture Ministry to the process. We also ask the ministry to distance itself from the proposals that are at odds with what is said on an expert level and to ensure that it will not support any such proposals.
The Slovak Press Publishers’ Association
28. Jan 2019 at 13:53 | Compiled by Spectator staff