Bratislava, September 27 (TASR) – Parliamentary Vice-chairman Juraj Seliga (For the People) announced on Sunday that he’ll file on Monday complaints with the Public Health Authority and the Bratislava district office against opposition People’s Party Our Slovakia (LSNS) chairman Marian Kotleba, who refused to wear a face mask on RTVS’s midday discussion programme ‘O pat minut dvanast’.
“I’ll also consider filing a criminal complaint over the crime of scare-mongering,” said Seliga.
Kotleba on the programme referred to several doctors who don’t believe that the novel coronavirus is particularly dangerous to most of the population. Instead, he pointed out that excessive preoccupation with coronavirus undermines the provision of health care for people suffering from other illnesses and results in excess deaths.
“MPs should serve as role models. We all wear face masks on discussion programmes, not only in order to protect ourselves, but also in order to lead by example,” said Seliga.
RTVS Distances Itself
RTVS later released a statement, in which it distanced itself from Kotleba’s refusal to wear a face mask on its midday discussion programme.
The broadcaster’s spokesperson Andrea Pivarciova in the statement provided to TASR admitted that Kotleba didn’t violate the face-mask mandate as released by the Public Health Authority, which has granted an exemption for those who’re actively participating in the production of an audio-visual programme. Nevertheless, Kotleba did violate RTVS’s internal rules, said Pivarciova, adding that the staff and later also the presenter called several times on him to put on a mask.
“RTVS did its utmost in the situation; we maintained a distance between Marian Kotleba and other guests, as well as the TV crew,” said Pivarciova, adding that henceforth only people observing RTVS’s internal rules concerning COVID-19 will be allowed to appear on its programmes.
National Police Chief Kovarik: Internal Rules No Business for Us
The police aren’t entitled to enforce internal rules of broadcasters concerning the production of audio-visual works, said Police Corps president Peter Kovarik later in the day.
Kovarik pointed to the exemption to the country-wide face-mask mandate, as also admitted by RTVS.
“If there are any doubts that the person who appeared on the programmme could possibly have broken the law, then this should be dealt with by the relevant administrative authority. I don’t consider it appropriate to interfere with political dialogue,” said Kovarik.