On Wednesday the government finally made some amendments to the Press Act, easing up some of the conditions incorporated to it by the former government of Robert Fico.
One elements is cancellation of the so-called ‘right to reply’ for public officials and politicians if the false or misleading article or statement in question concerns performance of their function. They should still be afforded the right if acting as a private individual, however, as this is afforded by the Constitution.
The International Press Institute has welcomed the changes made by Slovakia, in a week when the European Union as a whole has spoken out about media freedom.
The former semblance of the law gives people the right of reply even if statements made are true, but with the new version of the act anyone making a claim will have to prove first that the statements are wrong
The final version of the new Press Act will still have to undergo parliamentary debate, however, which is expected at the first parliamentary session this month.
Yesterday, at a special conference of the European parliament entitled Media Under Threat, MEPs and prominent figures from the media world pointed to the demise of press freedom in countries like Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy and France. They refer to press freedom in some of them as extremely dangerous, and so now EU institutions are being challenged to take action in order to “reconquest” basic rights across the European Union.