12 May 2017 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 13 Apr 2017 Slovak Republic

Pressure by Prime Minister on Public Broadcaster over Coverage

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner IPI AEJ
Partner IPI AEJ
In a 6 April 2017 address to Slovakia’s parliament, Prime Minister Robert Fico, speaking as chair of the Direction – Social Democracy (Smer-SD) party, announced that he would instruct deputies to make a change in the leadership of public broadcaster Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS). Parliament is expected to decide in June whether to retain or replace current RTVS Director General Václav Mika, who is nearing the end of a five-year term.
Fico criticised the broadcaster’s news coverage, accusing it of being biased and asking unfair questions, and he said he would give lawmakers “clear guidance” recommending a change in RTVS’ leadership. The call echoed Fico’s statements earlier in the week accusing the broadcaster of being “no longer a public-service” and “opposition-oriented”.
RTVS has faced criticism from Slovak National Party (SNS) lawmakers since they joined a coalition government with Smer in 2016. Smer lawmakers faced similar accusations of pressure in 2012 when they elected Mika to a five-year term after then-RTVS Director General Miroslava Zemková’s term was controversially cut short over her failure to inform lawmakers about the launch of a tender. Most opposition parties boycotted the 2012 vote electing Mika, calling it an effort by Smer to assert political control over RTVS.
State replies
Follow-ups
02 May 2017
The CoE Commissioner for Human Rights details the prerequisites for well-funded and strong public service media.
Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer
15 Dec 2016
Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on public service media governance (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 15 February 2012 at the 1134th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)
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