AEJ and SSN Call on Fico to Apologise for His Statements on Journalists

Prime Minister Robert Fico (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 24 (TASR) – The Slovak section of the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) is concerned about the statements made by Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) at a press conference on Wednesday (November 23) when he called journalists “dirty anti-Slovak prostitutes”, TASR learnt on Thursday. 

“The Prime Minister’s verbal attack has not only exceeded the bounds of decency, but has also provided a dangerous precedent for the further public disparaging of journalists’ work, which might threaten the freedom of press and speech in Slovakia,” reads the AEJ’s statement. According to the AEJ, this is not Fico’s first verbal attack against the media and it is not known if he ever apologised for his statements. “Therefore, we call on the Prime Minister to do so now, regardless of the fact he labelled only some journalists to be “dirty anti-Slovak prostitutes.”

AEJ representatives believe that core ethical values, such as the respect for personal freedom, human rights and citizens’ integrity, decency and justice, are not binding only for journalists, but also for constitutional officials of a country.

The Slovak Syndicate of Journalists (SSN) have joined the criticism of Fico by sharply condemning his statements. “We find the Prime Minister’s last statement to be especially amoral and shameless. We believe that with his words Robert Fico not only disparaged the work of journalists in Slovakia, but also besmirched their honour in an unprecedented manner,” stated SSN in its reaction. SSN also urges the Prime Minister to publicly apologise for his statements.

Fico was responding to accusations made against the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry over allegedly overpriced events linked to the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council. In addition, he criticised journalists for publishing false information about the case, which he said has damaged the Slovak Presidency.