Beblavy: No Group Should Control Society through Media

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Independent MP Miroslav Beblavy (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 13 (TASR) – No person or group should be able to control society through the media, as it’s key for democracy, stated Independent MP Miroslav Beblavy at a press conference in Bratislava on Tuesday, who along with his colleagues has submitted to Parliament an amendment to the law on broadcasting and retransmission to this effect.

The amendment is aimed at preventing the possible concentration of power in the media.

Beblavy, the leader of the newly created Together-Civic Democracy party, added that he has discussed the proposal with Culture Minister Marek Madaric (Smer-SD), who has been drawing up his own bill in this regard. “But he has been speaking about working on it for several months, and we think it should be adopted right now,” said Beblavy, pointing to information reported by the media that the financial group Penta, which owns some print media in Slovakia, is about to join the ownership of commercial broadcaster TV Markiza. At the same time, Beblavy denied that the bill has been drawn up solely due to the TV Markiza case. He considers the amendment to be systematic.

Independent MP Simona Petrik, the co-author of the amendment, stated that at the moment any letterbox company with unknown owners can buy a newspaper or television station in Slovakia. “We think this is due to the fact that the current law is inadequate and vague. We want to change this. It’s a matter of national interest to know who really owns the media,” said Petrik.

The Independent MPs went on to say that even though the law currently in place forbids so-called cross-media ownership, it’s often bypassed in practice, as the law doesn’t require the complete disclosure of a media organisation’s ownership structure.