Government Recalls Head of Public Broadcaster
Today the government recalled head of public TV and radio broadcaster RTVS, Miloslava Zemkova, in what some feel is a strategic move of the Smer-SD party government to gain greater control over the broadcaster.
In a secret ballot today, 82 of the 85 MPs in attendance voted to recall Zemkova at the proposal of the Parliamentary Media and Culture Committee. The lack of MPs (150 full house) was due to the opposition essentially boycotting the vote, referring to it as a farce.
The excuse used by the government, or rather the parliamentary committee, was that Zemkova failed to inform the RTVS Board about a tender for the rental of premises, but the motion to recall her was raised without it being announced even in the meeting agenda in advance.
Last week, Zemkova said there was no “logical, expert or other arguments” behind the move, which she referred to as constructed, arguing also that the public broadcaster generated profit for the first time last year. She also reiterated before parliament how she had done nothing unlawful and that the affair had been fabricated.
After the vote, former culture minister Daniel Krajcer expressed how it was clear that removing the general director was the first logical step in the Smer-SD party’s attempt to gain control over the public media. Such a move is par for the course, though, as the heads tend to be replaced with each new government.
Despite criticism and protest from various quarters, including a declaration of support today from the UNI MEI Global Union, Zemkova will now be replaced as general director of Slovak radio and television by someone more suitable, for some.