In a deeply concerning development, on 13 November 2023, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico announced an evaluation of media accreditation for certain outlets. Prime Minister categorized them a day before on 12 November as “enemies” of the people. Specifically he was targeting TV Markíza (https://www.markiza.sk/), daily and website SME(https://www.sme.sk/), daily and website Denník N (https://dennikn.sk/), and website Aktuality (https://www.aktuality.sk/) – all leading and well respected media in Slovakia.
Fico expressed an intention to scrutinize their access to government and cabinet offices as “unwanted guests”.
Additionally, on 16 November 2023, the Slovak Parliament enacted restrictive regulations limiting the recording of interviews and live broadcasts in the National Council lobby,
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) strongly condemns these actions as blatant infringements on media freedom, democratic principles, and the right to information in one EU member state. Such restrictions undermine the essential role of journalism in holding power accountable and fostering an informed public. SEEMO urges the Slovak authorities to reconsider these regressive measures, uphold media freedom, and ensure an environment where journalists can operate without unwarranted constraints. The recent actions against respected media outlets and the imposition of restrictions raise serious concerns about the state of media freedom in Slovakia and require immediate attention to safeguard democratic values.
SEEMO would like to remind that it had to react many times also in the past when Fico served as Prime Minister previously from 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018 In 2018 Fico was forced to resign after the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kušnírová. Fico became again prime minister in October 2023.
Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová gave a public support for all media and criticized the negative developments in the country.
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non-profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.
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