Bratislava, September 7 (TASR) – Slovak National Party (SNS) leader Andrej Danko wants to take control over public service Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS), Opposition MPs Veronika Remisova and Jozef Viskupic (OLaNO-NOVA) told a news conference held in Parliament on Wednesday.
The OLaNO MPs claim that Danko has offered no solutions or concept, just empty content. He probably wants RTVS in order to engage in racketeering and because he realises how powerful the media and those who control them are. “This is an unprecedented attack on the independence of public service RTVS,” said Remisova and Viskupic.
Meanwhile, Remisova and Viskupic called on SNS’s governing coalition partners Smer-SD and Most-Hid to prevent SNS from taking control over RTVS. “We call on Most-Hid and Smer to save RTVS from Andrej Danko’s power appetite. We call on these parties not to succumb to Danko and to keep RTVS at least in its current condition,” said Viskupic.
Remisova stressed that RTVS isn’t “just any old tobacco shop” that can be put under the administration of a political party. “RTVS belongs to the public. RTVS shouldn’t be managed by a political party, but should have its management under the RTVS Council’s supervision,” said Remisova, adding that it would be unfortunate if RTVS were to end up in SNS’s hands. “People deserve a high-quality programme and news service,” stated Remisova.
The Opposition MPs praised the fact that Culture Minister Marek Madaric (Smer-SD) hasn’t taken control over RTVS. “He’s done a good thing, as he’s left it in the hands of professionals. There are clever people there, viewing figures have grown and people trust RTVS’s news service,” said Remisova. Meanwhile, Viskupic condemned Danko’s behaviour vis-a-vis Madaric. “Marek Madaric is an important person in Smer and he [Danko] is wiping the floor with him as if he were a little boy,” he said.
Viskupic in this connection mentioned his proposal for changes in RTVS’s financing. He thinks that licence fees should be scrapped and that RTVS should be financed from the state budget in accordance with Slovakia’s GDP.
Danko on Monday (September 5) said that SNS won’t come up with its own proposal to reform RTVS, including its financing, until it falls under SNS’s remit. Danko explained that his party won’t reform an institution that isn’t its responsibility.
“When our coalition partner [Smer-SD] puts it [RTVS] under the management of SNS, then I’ll know that I’m responsible for it, and I’ll prepare it [reform],” he said, adding that his coalition partners are aware of his attitude on this matter.
Last month, the cabinet suspended a discussion on a proposal for a TV licence fee hike sponsored by Madaric due to criticism mainly from SNS. Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) said that it was SNS’s turn to come up with some proposals on how to reform RTVS. He announced that further deliberations on the issue would be held between the leaders of the coalition parties.