An IPI / SEEMO delegation met in Bratislava with Slovak Minister of Culture Daniel Krajcer, who said his government was proposing legislation that would change the “right to reply” currently present in Slovak law. The right allows politicians to comment on everything that is reported about them, even if the report is factually accurate.
Krajcer told the group that the proposed legislation would accord the right only where a report is “inaccurate, incomplete or distorts the truth,” and would place the burden of proof on the party seeking to invoke the right. Public officials could not invoke the right unless a report is unrelated to performance of official duties, he said, and the right would only allow for a response or a correction, rather than both, as allowed under the current law.
The Slovak government’s move accords with a pledge by Prime Minister Iveta Radicova last September during an address at IPI’s 60th anniversary World Congress in Bratislava.
Radicova, who succeeded former Prime Minister Robert Fico in July 2010, promised to reverse the right to reply rule and other elements of the 2008 law which critics have said Fico pushed through in order to muzzle the media. Radičová in her address also criticized harsh sanctions in the law which she said led to self-censorship among journalists, and she took issue with the law’s strong regulation of the media.
IPI Vice Chairman, SEEMO Board Member and Slovakian IPI Board Member Pavol Mudry, who was part of the delegation that met with Krajcer and took part in discussions that led to the proposed legislation, said: “We welcome the attitude of the minister of culture in speaking with and listening to media representatives, and in making his decision based on their input.”
This press release is supported by the South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an IPI affiliate.