Bratislava, September 29 (TASR) – Dutch experts discussed the options for protecting journalists in Slovakia, presenting measures used in the Netherlands at a news conference in Bratislava on Thursday.
The experts pointed to the importance of cooperation between employers, employees, the police and the prosecution service.
“From the viewpoint of employers, it’s about a policy of providing safety at work for journalists. From the viewpoint of the police, it’s about the special position of journalists when a criminal complaint is filed. And from the viewpoint of the prosecution service, it’s about applying higher penalties for crimes committed against journalists,” said PersVeilig platform project coordinator Peter ter Velde.
The Slovak Culture Ministry, which organised workshops in cooperation with the Dutch Embassy, has taken on the role of mediator in improving the protection of journalists in Slovakia. “We’ll do our utmost to bring stances together so that we can start any procedural form. We aren’t talking about whether it should be an organisation, a platform or any other procedural solution. Our aim is to come to a specific result that will be feasible and noticeable,” said ministry State Secretary Radoslav Kutas. He believes that thanks to regular meetings with Dutch experts, it will be possible to achieve real results in the next few weeks.
The Culture Ministry plans to contact employers to identify situations in which their employees-journalists feel threatened. “We have ‘a blank space’ in regions we know almost nothing about, as well as for freelance journalists,” said Kutas.
Dutch Ambassador to Slovakia Gabriella Sancisi pointed out that the issue of freedom of the media and protection of journalists is still extremely relevant. “Cooperation between experts here in Slovakia and the Netherlands will allow us to avoid reinventing the wheel,” stated the ambassador.