Danko: Law on Right of Politicians to React Essential

Danko not to face no-confidence motion in Parliament (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, January 18 (TASR) – Parliamentary Chair Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) thinks that Slovakia has reached a stage at which a law on the right of politicians to react to what has been written in the media, including commentaries, is necessary, Danko’s spokesperson Tomas Kostelnik has stated.

According to Danko, such a law is essential. “Such a law is taken for granted in other developed countries,” said Kostelnik. In the case of commentaries, it should concern media web pages, “not free commentaries on the internet.”

Smer-SD MPs Miroslav Ciz and Dusan Jarjabek have stated that the institution of the right of public officials to react should be restored via an amendment to the law on the press. A right to react that included politicians was introduced on June 1, 2008 under Robert Fico’s first government. In 2011, under Iveta Radicova’s government, it was changed, with only natural persons retaining the right. Jarjabek and Ciz want to restore the measure to its original form.

The law should contain the following wording: “If a periodical press or news agency report contains a factual claim that concerns the honour, dignity or privacy of a natural person, or the name and reputation of a legal individual based on which a person can be exactly identified, the person in question has the right to ask for their reaction to be published. Publishers of the periodical press and news agencies are obliged to publish the reaction free of charge. The right to a correction is not concerned by this.”

If press publishers and news agencies didn’t publish a correction, reaction or additional notice at all, or if they didn’t comply with the conditions for their publication, the person who asked for publication would have the right to compensation of between €1,660 and €4,890. The amendment should also concern occasions when an answer doesn’t have to be published.