Slovakia: thousands protest a controversial reform of a public broadcaster

Protests in Slovakia

Thousands of Slovaks rallied in the capital Bratislava on May 2 to protest the controversial reform of public broadcaster RTVS, which opponents fear will strengthen government control over the media, Aktuality reported.

The leader of the opposition party Progressive Slovakia, which organized the protest, Michal Šimečka, told the audience that Slovak democracy “needs a strong and independent” public broadcaster, RTVS.

“If Fico gains control of RTVS, it will mean a decisive step towards Orban and Putin,” said Šimečka.

Zora Jaurova, a member of the Progressive Slovakia party, said that the Slovak authorities do not understand the essence of public broadcasting, which “is to protect democracy, the rule of law, and freedom.”

The rally began with a delay of several minutes, chants of “enough of Fico,” loud whistling, and booing. The first to speak was actress and influencer Kristína Tormová. She started her speech with a joke about the round Earth. “There is so much that should be said here that I have no words,” she said at the beginning, adding that the protests are a gathering of people who disagree with the current political situation and therefore need to come together.

Later, a speaker from the Czech Republic, film producer Čestmír Kopecký, took the stage and spoke about the importance of public television serving the needs of society. “Public service television should stand up for the viewers,” he said, describing examples where television in the Czech Republic has helped citizens.

On April 24, the coalition government of the populist Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico approved the reform of public broadcasting, which is expected to be adopted by the parliament in June.

The reform envisages the liquidation of RTVS and the creation of a new organization in its place.

The initiative, introduced by Slovakia’s Minister of Culture Martina Šimkovičová, was criticized by President Zuzana Čaputová, local journalists, the opposition, international media organizations, and the European Commission.

In November 2023, Robert Fico announced a boycott of four opposition Slovak media outlets, which he accused of having a “hostile political position.”

Read all articles by Insight News Media on Google News, subscribe and follow.
Scroll to Top