International press organisations ask Čaputová for help

They are calling on the president elect to veto the draft amendment to the Press Code.

Zuzana Čaputová is the fifth Slovak president.Zuzana Čaputová is the fifth Slovak president. (Source: Jana Bírošová, SITA)

Nine journalism organisations signed and sent an open letter to Slovakia's president elect Zuzana Čaputová, expressing their concerns about press freedom in the country.

At the same time, they congratulated her on winning the presidential election and demonstrated support for her fight against corruption.

“Your victory marks the strong demand of the Slovak people for change, for true democracy under the rule of law,” press organisations wrote in the open letter for Čaputová.

They ask her to veto the draft amendments to the Press Code, which were introduced a year after the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak.

Fico's threats

The organisations are also concerned about Smer chair Robert Fico's recent verbal attacks against journalists. It is not the first time Fico has insulted the media. His statements contributes to a “toxic atmosphere for journalists among the public”, as quoted in the letter.

In addition, press and media freedom is threatened by an attempt to pass the amendments to the 2008 Press Code in the parliament. The organisations are, in particular, critical of the proposal that makes the media publish politicians' replies to stories about them.

“It bears the high risk of massive political interference, which would lead to increased self-censorship in the media in Slovakia,” the nine press organisations wrote in the letter.

Thus, they have urged Čaputová not to sign but veto the changes to the Press Code and contribute to the safety of journalists in Slovakia. The Slovak Press Publishers' Association and 400 journalists in Slovakia have already protested the proposed amendments.

EP's resolution

The nine organisations have also embraced the resolution, which the European Parliament adopted at the end of March. The EP welcomed the progress made in the investigations of the murders of journalists in Slovakia and Malta.

Yet the EP has gone on to slam the governments in EU members states for restricting the rule of law.

Regarding Slovakia, the resolution expresses concerns about the “allegations of corruption, conflicts of interest, impunity and revolving doors in Slovakia's circles of power”, as quoted in the EP's press release.

Read also:Coalition demands the right of reply for politicians Read more 

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

News digest: Who will take the swabs?

The government offers hundreds of euros to health care staff for testing. Curfew ends on Saturday for some. Take a look at testing sites and more.

PM Igor Matovič helped with testing in Tvrdošín.

People with negative tests can go to hairdresser or outdoor terraces

Those with a negative test result will have to follow rules introduced on October 15.

Companies fear drop in demand for their products and services the most

International chambers of commerce asked companies about their current situation as well as expectations.

Companies implemented anti-coronavirus measures.

The big testing: When and where to show up, and what if I don't want to? (FAQ)

Here is what we know about the practicalities of the nationwide testing so far. Testing also applies to foreigners and diplomats in Slovakia.

Pilot testing in Bardejov