Premier Interrupts Communication with Selected Media

Premier Interrupts Communication with Selected Media
Prime Minister Robert Fico (stock photo by TASR)

        Bratislava, November 20 (TASR) - Premier Robert Fico (Smer-SD) has interrupted communication with selected media until they start fulfilling their duty stemming from the law, the Government Office's press department informed TASR on Monday, adding that this concerns private television channel Markiza, Dennik N and SME dailies and news website Aktuality.
        Fico claimed that he respects that the law obliges public authorities to provide the media with information about their activities. He stated that the purpose of this obligation is to guarantee the provision of true, comprehensive and timely information to the public.
        However, according to Fico, the above media since the first hours of the new government's formation haven't fulfilled their obligation to inform the public about the activities of public authorities in a truthful, comprehensive and timely manner. "This applies especially to the Slovak Government and its premier," he said, adding that the given media display hostile political attitudes based primarily on publishing false, incomplete information or on the concealment of information.

The Slovakia party, Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) and the Christian Democrats (KDH) criticise Prime Minister Robert Fico's (Smer-SD) decision to cut off communication with selected media, considering it to be unacceptable.
        According to KDH, the deliberate ignoring of selected media further incites division in society, which Fico should rather calm down. The Slovakia party called Fico's actions unacceptable and unworthy of the prime minister. These practices remind the party of the practices before November 1989.
        KDH and the Slovakia party refer to the importance of the Velvet Revolution for media freedom and freedom of speech. The Slovakia party criticises the premier's actions for showing insufficient respect for citizens' right to free access to information.
        KDH parliamentary caucus chairwoman Martina Holeckova stated that in 1998, Fico declared the need to ensure that Markiza TV would be able to broadcast objective as well as critical information. "After 25 years everything is different and today it is Robert Fico who is going to limit the media," she added.
        SaS pointed out on a social network that MEP Eugen Jurzyca (SaS/ECR) together with Ivan Stefanec (KDH/EPP) initiated a letter to the European Commission, in which they ask to check the compliance of Fico's actions against the media with the EU's values and principles. Seven more Slovak MEPs also supported the initiative. "The key duty of public administration bodies in a democratic state is to inform the media and the public and thus enable public control of politicians," they emphasised.